Let’s be frank: I’m no runner. I’ve never had the special shoes or the Fitbit or the love of pain to really get into it. Yet here in Addis Ababa, I’ve just signed up for a trail run called Ethiotrail. I skipped the 12k option and went straight for the half marathon as my goal for August 9 (i.e. four weeks from now). Is that crazy? Probably. Good idea anyway? I think so. Here’s why:
Explore the Lakes District
I’ve been a little remiss about getting outside the city. I’ll go ahead and blame the rainy season and the odd jobs I do online that have been keeping me tied down in the capital, even on weekends. Enough with the excuses. Camping lake-side in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley is at the top of my list for upcoming adventures. Coincidentally, Ethiotrail’s 21k course passes through Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park, using Simbo Beach Resort as a base. The landscape and the lodge will be a nice distraction from the running bit.
XL Physical Challenge
I’m getting antsy. Physically. This is the first of several summers where I won’t be road biking across Colorado or backpacking any alpine circuits. As I sat browsing photos of all the cycling and summit hikes going on without me, I decided I needed a challenge here in Ethiopia. A mountain-sized physical challenge. I got talked into running a 10k a two years ago and survived, so I want to up the ante to a half marathon this time.
Support a Good Cause
National parks are fragile things, especially in places like Ethiopia. They’re chronically under threat of encroachment, and Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park is no exception. 20% of the race proceeds will go toward national park conservation efforts, as well as support of three local schools. Can’t argue with that.