Grand African Run returns to DC With olympians
Gofere Sport Wear, Ethiopia’s sportswear juggernaut, is making moves across the Atlantic.
The fast-rising apparel company has inked a sponsorship deal with the massive Grand African Run competition held annually in Washington, D.C.
As part of the two-year partnership, Gofere will kit out all 4,000+ competitors in made-in-Ethiopia t-shirts for the iconic race showcasing African athletes. The agreement also includes covering transportation costs for uniforms and equipment, sources stated.
On October 14, 2023, the fifth annual Grand African Run will be held in Washington, D.C. Many Ethiopians from the US and around the world are expected to participate in the road race, according to organizer NOVA Connection. More than 20 Olympians and world champion athletes have signed up to take part in the event to motivate the competitors.
Gofere founder Samuel Mekonen sees football – not just running – as key to expanding the company’s footprint.
“This Grand African Run will pave the way for more deals in the athletic sector and help us meet demand from the African diaspora community in the US and beyond,” Mekonen claimed.
The five-year-old company already dwarfs competitors back home, outfitting 15 of Ethiopia’s 16 Premier League football clubs. Now, Mekonen says Gofere garb is gaining ground across the Horn of Africa.
But the Grand African Run could prove a proving ground for even loftier ambitions on the world stage.
The guest of honor at the annual race includes Ethiopian Football Federation (EFF) President Derartu Tulu (deputy commissioner), celebrities, and various artists.
Every year, the Grand Africa Run is organized around the theme “Better Together.” According to the press release, the goals of the competition are to unite Ethiopians, introduce young Ethiopian Americans to their culture, and raise money for charitable causes.
Gashau Abza (Prof.) chair of the department of sports management at Towson University and manager of Nova Connection, pointed out that the annual race is more meaningful than just a 5K family run, saying it plays an important role in bringing Ethiopians and generations of Ethiopians closer together.
He added that in addition to the race, it serves as a platform to recognize Ethiopian Americans who have succeeded in the US as well as members of the diaspora who have significantly benefited their native Ethiopia.
The Impact Award Program, which takes place on October 15, is a means of honoring and celebrating people who have made contributions to society while still living.
Last year, legendary long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele won the “Impact Award” at the Grand Africa Run. He is the greatest distance runner in history.