South African distance running legend Hendrick Ramaala will be one of the guests of the 2016 TOTAL Great Ethiopian Run, organisers announced earlier today.
Starting in 1995 Ramaala’s career at the top of world distance running lasted for more than 15 years and included two silver medals at the World Half Marathon Championships in 1998 and 1999. He also ran under 28 minutes for 10,000m on 11 occasions which also included his South African National Record of 27:29, a mark which still stands today.
A regular member of the South African athletics team, Ramaala competed at three Olympic Games. He also holds the best time for a South African runner for the 20km and the half-marathon and the second fastest behind Gert Thys for the marathon with a best time of 2 hours 6 minutes and 55 seconds set in 2006.
Ramaala is now closely involved in distance running in South Africa, working as a coach and mentor for many young South African athletes. And even though he is now aged 44 Ramaala is still competing: earlier this year he ran the Hamburg Marathon in a time of under 2 hours and 25 minutes.
Ramaala is well known to many of Ethiopia’s great distance runners including Haile Gebrselassie, Gezahagne Abera and Tesfaye Tola, and is looking forward to meeting them again in their home city in November.
Expressing his delight at the news of Ramaala’s coming to Ethiopia, Great Ethiopian Run GM Ermias Ayele said: “Hendrick is a big name in world athletics, having achieved great results in New York, in London and at many global championships. He also comes from a great distance running nation. We can’t wait to give Hendrick a warm welcome and exciting introduction to mass running here in Ethiopia.”