Abel, Tigist Triumph as Thousands Return to Ethiopia’s Biggest Road Race

ADDIS ABABA – Abe Gashaw and Tigist Ketema won in men’s and women’s elite races at the 2022 Sofi Malt Great Ethiopian Run as the number of participants returned to the pre-pandemic level. 

More than 40, 000 people including top and young athletes thronged the streets of Addis Ababa for the 10 kilometers international road race on Sunday.

President Sahle-Work Zewde and other senior government officials were part of the opening event along with prominent athletes including 2021 Tokyo Olympic marathon winner and Kenyan athlete Peres Jepchirchir.

Abel, Tigist Top elite races

Led by elite athletes in green shirts, runners in three categories involving ambassadors, charity runners, and chipped runners began their race at Meskel Square.

The elite men’s race, which started at 8:00 a.m., was much closer with four seconds separating the podium winners. 

Abe, the winner of the 2021 and 2016 editions, regained his title, clocking 28:32.  His winning time, however, was unable to beat Deriba Merga’s course record of 28:19 set 15 years ago.

Hailemariam Amare, who clocked 28:34, placed second while Gemechu Dida finished third in 28:36.

In the women’s race, Tigist held off a fierce challenge from Mestawet Fikir by just a second in 32:54. Foten Tesfay finished third in 33:01.

Her winning time was 27 seconds far off the course record of 31.17 held by Yalemzerf Yehualaw.

Increased Participation

Apart from the elite athletes, tens of thousands of people returned to the running event, making “Africa’s biggest road race’ more colorful.

The organizers who replaced the road race with a virtual competition in 2020 due to Covid brought the event back to the streets in January 2022 with a limited number of runners to comply with the pandemic restrictions.

For Sunday’s edition, the organizers increased the participants’ tally to nearly a pre-pandemic level of 40,000 after the restriction was further eased.

The runners from all walks of life – half dressed in yellow jerseys and others in red shirts – walked and danced their way along the 10km long route and reached the finishing line at Meskel Square.

Ethiopia’s most famous long-distance runner and Olympic medallist, Haile Gebrselassie founded the Great Ethiopian Run in 2001 and won the first race. It has since been organized annually with a view of promoting healthy living, and important social messages.

The event is also serving as the launching pad for several Ethiopian athletes including the 2020 Gdynia World Half Marathon champion Yalemzaf Yehualw, and 2022 World Marathon Champion Athlete Tamirat Tola.

  1. Abe Gashaw 28:32
  2. Hailemariam Amare 28:34
  3. Gemechu Dida 28:36
  4. Dagnachew Adere 28:53
  5. Kuma Dejene 28:54
  1. Tigist Ketema 32:54
  2. Mestawet Fikiru 32:55
  3. Foten Tesfaye 33:01
  4. Meseret Gosa 33:03
  5. Muluye Dekaba 33:07