“Haile Gebresilassie’s, advise saved my running career”, Olympic and World Marathon Champion, Stephen Kiprotich
By Hailegziabher Adhanom
Addis Ababa, November 17, 2018 – it’s almost a tradition for TOTAL Great Ethiopian Run, Africa’s biggest 10km road race, with its vibrant and joyful 44,000 mass participants, to invite a global superstar athletes as a guest of honors, aimed to motivate the competing athletes, the mass participants and to bring those legends closer to their true fans. This year, Stephen Kiprotich, 2012 Olympic and 2013 World championships Marathon Gold medalist along with Eritrea’s long distance athletics legend Zeresenay Tadesse will grace our podium as guest of Honor. Like the greats Paula Radcliff, Vivian Cheriot, Hicham El Grouji and the likes do through the years.
As the most celebrated and a role model athlete for many Ugandans, following his back to back Olympic and World Marathon victories, he is now here in Ethiopia, following the invitation by Great Ethiopian Run, an Organization established and led by one of his own idols, the great Haile Gebresilassie.
This is Kiprotich’s third time visit to Ethiopia, two of them were while he was a teenage, a decade ago competing at the ‘Jan Meda international Cross Country championships’, finishing his race 72nd and 32nd the following year and it was the first time he mate Haile in person.
According to Kiprotich it was the following year, when he mates Haile in Holland, and exchanges some words with him that changes his life once and for all. He remembered that” I told Haile that irrespective of my hard work, I didn’t get the results I am wishing of, and I am not making money as well, so I am about to quit the sport”, he listened to me carefully and said” the first thing you have to do is train very hard, and once you are in the race never think of the money and the ranks, only focus how to finish the race you begun, then hard work will bring you success and money will follow them.” I remember he beat me in that race and when I met him five years later in Tokyo, I asked him, do you remember me, he said yes, and I beat him that time. It is his advice, that saves my career, and when young athletes asked me what they have to do, I always tell them, what Haile told me a few years back.
This time Kiprotich, is a guest of Honor for the race but, he doesn’t rule out himself coming back to compete after making a proper preparation. And he envisages to organize such kinds of races in Uganda after consulting with concerned parties, when he call on, time out at his running.