Tuesday, April 30, 2013
First Haile Gebrselassie Marathon set for October
Tim Murphy of Moray Mountain Sports started Elite Racing of San Diego and is also the man responsible for such now-commonplace innovations as blending kids and elite races, music and bands along race courses and multi-loop races. Murphy created such prestigious events as the Carlsbad 5000 and the Arturo Barrios 10km, as well as the Rock 'n' Roll series of marathons and half marathons. Murphy sold the Rock 'n' Roll franchise five years ago to Competitor. Since the sale, he has been inactive in the running business but itching to get back.
"I always knew I'd put on another marathon," says Murphy, "But I never wanted to put on just another me-too race. That's why a marathon in Ethiopia is so intriguing. Runners today have done all the big races and are looking for something different, something distinctive, something to add to their bucket list. That's what the Haile Gebrselassie Marathon is all about. It will be a unique event in an area of the world few Westerners have ever run."
The Haile Gebrselassie Marathon will be a marathon of many firsts. Most importantly, it will be the first peoples' marathon to ever be held in Ethiopia-the birthplace of some of the greatest marathoners in the world. The marathon and accompanying half marathon will have an elite portion of the race, but it will also be open to Ethiopians and Westerners who wish to experience the charm and beauty of this East African nation.
Gebrselassie, a full participant
This race will also be the first to bear the name of the greatest distance runner in world history: Haile Gebrselassie. The Ethiopian legend, who has set 27 world track and road records and won four World Championship titles and two Olympic gold medals in the 10,000 metres, was instrumental in bringing this event to his homeland. Gebrselassie, who owns a hotel in Hawassa, will be a full participant in the event.
The men's and women's winner of the marathon will each receive 12 ounces of gold (current value: R16,000 an ounce). In addition, 12 other participants in the marathon, half marathon or accompanying 5km will be chosen at random to each receive one ounce of gold.
The Haile Gebrselassie Marathon and half marathon, as well as the 5km, will be held in Hawassa, a city of approximately 250,000 in south central Ethiopia, about 170 miles south of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Unlike the capital city which sits at more than 7,500 feet above sea level, Hawassa is at a much more moderate elevation of 5,600 feet and has a dry, pleasant climate. Hawassa is on the shores of Lake Hawassa in the great Rift Valley, ancestral home of the world's greatest distance runners.
The races will be held entirely within the city limits of Hawassa and be contested on a flat, accurate, two-loop course (one loop for the half marathoners). Other than a short stretch on a hard-packed dirt road, the race will be on pavement with plenty of aid stations with purified water and sports drinks, as well as native musicians along the course. The start/finish of the races are within easy walking distance of the race hotels.
There will be plenty of pre- and post-race festivities, including an appearance by the affable Gebrselassie who will welcome all the runners to his native country.
Date: 20 October 2013
Location: Hawassa, Ethiopia
Races: 42.2km, 21.1km, 5km and a Kids Race
Entries are limited to 1200 runners.
For further information or to enter the Haile Gebrselassie Marathon, go to www.hailemarathon.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.