Personal Best

I’ve had a great weekend. Yesterday I met a couple of (new) friends for lunch at the Lime Tree, one of the main Addis hang-outs for expats (ferengi) and – as the guidebook says – “trendy locals”. Then I went to a birthday party. Then I spent the evening watching Arsenal lose and carb-loading!

Early start today for breakfast and then I went off for the Great Ethiopian Run. One of my Ethiopian colleagues – Yared – had very kindly offered to amble round with me, and we met various other DFID and FCO colleagues, and lots of other people that Yared knows.

It was an amazing event. 33000 people, with green t-shirts, running round the city – a river of green. Lots of music and dancing and whoop-whooping. Kind of like outside Highbury when Arsenal won the double by beating Man Utd at Old Trafford in 2002, but moreso. Yared was a great running companion, teaching me some basic greetings and telling me a lot about Ethiopia.

It wasn’t easy to run with so many people around, otherwise I would – of course – have been much quicker. My time was pitiful, but by the standards of someone who was running 10k for the first time, at 2500 metres, having been here for 3 days, with the streets too crowded to run and not quite the smooth surfaces of brighton prom, it was OK. But still too pitiful for me to say how long it took.

Alan post-10k, Meskel Square
Alan post-10k, Meskel Square

Oh, top Addis trivia:

1) The terraces in Meskel square (equiv trafalgar square) are running tracks. If you go along them all, left to right, up, right to left, up etc. they are 10k long. At dawn they are apparently packed. I may investigate.

2) Lots of the streets have – quite recently – been given the names of African countries, apparently at a time when the African Union was thinking of moving its HQ from Addis.

Afterwards, Yared and I met up with a mate of his, another Yared, to refuel with beer and injera (sour but very nice pancake) and shiro (basically thick chickpea – I think, although it could be lentil – soup/stew). Very nice. Then we went off to the British Embassy where there was a post-race lunch. I am now recuperating back at the hotel with heavy legs and a slightly aching head!

Photos available at my Picasa site

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