Forays into Mountain Racing; Photos and Stories from the Yaya Girls First Ever Mountain Race

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On May 19th the Yaya Girls held a Mountain Fundraiser race to raise awareness and money for the Yaya Girls Program. The race was attended by over 150 adults and close to 50 kids. While the attendance numbers were lower than events put on by the Great Ethiopian Run, for the Yaya Girls, it was a chance to get a feel for what it is like to organize a larger race.

The race had a number of different events from a short 800 meter girls’ and boys’ children’s race, a team relay race (fun event) and an individual men’s and women’s race. While there are a number of races throughout Ethiopia, mountain racing has yet to take off. We were lucky with beautifully clear skies shining down on us throughout the day!

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Our youngest competitor Hannibal, only four years old, ran a bit too fast at the start of the race but proudly finished gasping for air. We did not send the race marshals to investigate his route at the top portion of the course, feeling it was okay that he took a little shortcut as he was racing against boys that were triple his age.

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The days youngest competitor running hard!

The girls contingent was fiercely competitive with a small pack of girls competing for the top three spots.

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Most of the kids who participated in the race were from the school that is located just a stone’s throw away from Yaya. Over the coming years the YG Program and the Yaya Village Hotel hope to help the school by providing supplies, giving trainings led by the girls involved in the Program and by fostering the growth of an after school all girls running club.

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The women’s individual race was attended by close to 50 women and was proudly won by Yaya Girl Meseret Godana. She finished well ahead of the pack, beating the competition by over 30 seconds.

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The men’s race was slightly more competitive with a handful of runners finishing near the top. The men ran approximately 7k with the women running a shorter 5k course.

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Not an easy hill to run up…

Our sponsors St. Georges Beer, the Yaya Village Hotel, MSignages, FirstConsult and MaxView Gym helped by providing in-kind and cash donations to help make the event a success. Without their help, the event would not have been possible. Thanks to all of them for their sponsorship. The Yaya Girls hopes to continue to work together with them in the future. Also thanks to everyone who came and participated and we hope to see you all again, soon!

Looking forward to putting on another race at some point in 2013. Stay tuned!

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