What does it take to be a great runner? Training, genetics, lifestyle, a combination of all of these?
We all have noticed that Kenyans are great marathoners and usually win the NY Marathon but Ethiopians are also known for their ability to win marathons at the Olympics and internationally as well.
Runner World recently published an article discussing why they are fantastic. It begins with their training altitude but gets better from there. Check the article out below
Why are Ethiopian endurance runners so successful?
RW contributor David Smyth travels to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to find out the secrets behind Ethiopia’s running success. Here’s what he learned from training with, and chatting to, some of the world’s best runners
BY DAVID SMYTH 5 DEC 2022
Look at any medals table across the last 60 years and one thing is obvious: the Ethiopians are extremely good at endurance running. The first gold medal for Africa as a whole came for Abebe Bikala of Ethiopia, winning the Olympic marathon with no shoes in Rome in 1960. Skip forward two decades and Miruts Yifter “The Shifter” was taking double golds in the 5000m and 10,000m in Moscow. Between 1993 and 2000, Haile Gebrselassie won four World Championship and two Olympic golds in the 10,000m, before moving up to marathon distance in the subsequent decade and breaking the world record twice. Selemon Barega carried on the 10,000 tradition with his gold in Tokyo last year.
The women are just as great. Fatuma Roba took gold at the 1996 Atlanta marathon, Derartu Tulu won 10,000m gold at both Barcelona 1992 and Sydney 2000, Tirunesh Dibaba did her 5000/10,000m double at Beijing in 2008. Fast forward to today and the sensational Letesenbet Gidey currently holds three world records in the 5000, 10,000m and half marathon, and Yalemzerf Yehualaw is the current London Marathon champion. Even Sifan Hassan, the reigning Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion, represents the Netherlands but was born in Ethiopia and lived there until she was 15.