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Etsay Goes the Distance!

Last February we hosted a sports and art competition in Adigudum – the capital city of this District. 129 students from 29 of our schools attended and participated in events from spelling to sprinting, soccer to singing.

One student, 15-year-old Etsay Alemu, from Debub Community School (an imagine1day supported school) won the 1500 and 3000 meter races at the three-day competition. His running moved and inspired our Community Development Officer, Lule, to take Etsay under his wing and help him become a world class runner that we all believe he can be.

“Etsay was so great in the race that I knew that with help he could become an amazing runner,” says Lule. “He has moved from Debub to the bigger city of Mekelle so that he can train and go to school here and he is now in Grade 8. He is running each day and is doing different types of exercises to make his muscles strong. He is involved with motivational training and goal setting programs to build his confidence so that he achieves his dreams.”

And Etsay is already well on his way to reaching his dreams. Over the past month he has already improved his 20 km time by five minutes and now runs the distance in one hour and seven minutes and eight seconds! 20 km! In just over one hour! Like we said – this boy can run!

Regional sports officials are starting to recognize Etsay’s athletic potential and have recently given him a uniform sponsorship and provided him with all the necessary information to register and compete in a number of regional running events over the coming months.

“Etsay has been setting a lot of goals to achieve,” says Lule. “This year we want people to get to know him in Tigray, then next year in Ethiopia, and then by the time he is 18 he would like people around the world to know who he is because he competes at the international level. One day, not too far away, people will think of great Ethiopian runners and among the people they will think of will be Haile Gebreselassie and Etsay Alemu!”

Etsay is not the only one on the go. People from around the world are joining with imagine1day in Imagine: Running to Ethiopia – a virtual run where participants run the combined distance of 13,286 – the distance from Vancouver to Mekelle, Ethiopia to raise enough funds for a new school! Check it out at http://www.imagine1day.org/runningethiopia.htm!

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