The Yaya Girls Cross Country race that was held a few weeks ago, (5th April) was a success with 100 participants, mostly athletes, showing up for the event. The race was ran over 5km starting and finishing on the Yaya Village Hotel athletics track.
There was a slight panic the night before when we realised that our stock of safety pins had gone missing so we had to improvise and use duct tape to attach the race numbers. We also had to put a hold on marking the course, as a potential thunderstorm loomed overhead, which luckily only threatened washing out the entire course markings.
With the help of our amazing volunteers and a few coaches all the athletes had their numbers attached and they were ready to warm up. Although many of the athletes seemed in no rush to warm up and it was not until the coach informed them that the race would start in 20 minutes that they actually did. I cannot help but make comparisons to races at home, in Britain, where it is normal for you to start warming up an hour before the race is due to start.
The women went off first with a quick lap around the track and then out of the campus for three laps around the field to complete the 5km course. A few minutes later the men set off in hot pursuit. They were back first with Yesedaw Belay crossing theline first and Aster Taddese winning the closely contested women’s race. The race was part of the selection for the next group of Yaya Girls. Although the finishing position in the race is not important to the recruitment, it is just important for us to know that the girls truly love running. Some of the finishers were interviewed to decide who will be the next Yaya Girls. We will introduce the new class of girls over the next few weeks to everyone through the blog.
The current Yaya Girls all received their thoroughly deserved graduation certificates during the prize giving. We wish them all the best for the future. With 15 kegs (225 litres) of beer all kindly donated by St George to get through and a similar amount of water from Great Abyssinia no one went thirsty. The girls were on hand to practice their waitressing skills and ensured everyone always had a drink in their hand. 10 Kegs (150 litres) were drunk which is a pretty good, if slightly worrying, effort in my opinion. Most of it was drunk by a group of male runners.
We are hugely indebted to the volunteers who without which the race would have been impossible. From marshalling the course to advertising the race they did a great job. Thank you also to our sponsors St George, Great Abyssinia Water and Max View Gym, and Yaya Athletics Village for supporting us so generously. Thank you also to all the participants and we look forward to seeing you again at future events.
And one last thanks to St. George Beer who without we couldn’t have made the event a success!
Congratualtions to the first three men and women:
1st Yesedaw Belay, 2nd Chala Dereba, 3rd Dagame Guta,
1st Aster Taddese, 2nd Seromi Negash, 3rd Uorge Diro