|Charlotte Coleman-Smith and legendary Ethiopian runner Haile Gebrselassie
Following huge success over the past three years on Thursday, November 24, 70 ORBIS runners and walkers departed from Dublin to make the journey to Addis Ababa for the Great Ethiopian Run. This was ORBIS Ireland’s fourth trip to take part in this Run.
Along with some of the world’s most renowned athletes (Haile Gebrselassie and Richard Nerurkar) there was a huge variety of runners of all age groups and fitness levels taking part. Each ORBIS participant was asked to raise a minimum of €3,000 in order to participate in the event.
ORBIS participants included ORBIS Ireland and ORBIS UK staff as well as members of the ORBIS Board. Chairman of the ORBIS Board of Trustees, Robert F. Walters, ORBIS UK Board members David Lewis, Diana Mary Killen, Melanie Richards and ORBIS Ireland Board members, Andrew Lowe, Clare O’Dea, Lorcan Tiernan, Michael Boyd, Trevor Lydon all participated in the Run.
The Run took place on Sunday morning, with over 38,000 people gathering for the start of the race. Dotted throughout the immense crowd were about 350 international runners. The rest were Ethiopians taking to the streets to celebrate their national sport.
“It was a humbling experience to be part of the sea of red t-shirts as they crossed the start line - singing, waving, chanting. The crowds’ good spirits carried me all the way,” said runner Katrina Dowling.
The winner of the race was Mewsnet Geremew who completed the race in 28 minutes 37 seconds. Although, for ORBIS, the real winner was the first of the ORBIS participants - Declan Whyte who crossed the line in a speedy 49 minutes! The ORBIS delegation also visited ORBIS’s sight-saving projects in Ethiopia to understand what their sponsorship money will help support.
ORBIS Ireland estimates that they will raise €120,000 from the Great Ethiopian Run 2011.