Ethiopian athletes participated in the first-ever virtual race which took place on Saturday aimed at fundraising to support the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Some 1,000 Ethiopian athletes, including renowned athletes like Derartu Tulu, Tirunesh Dibaba, and Kenenisa Bekele have participated in the virtual race organized by the Grand African Run in Washington D.C.
The race was streamed live online and runners connected on Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube in a virtual fundraising.
A virtual race is the same as any other type of racing and the difference is that the entered race can be run at any location, at any pace, inside on a treadmill or outside in another country but need to provide evidence that you have done it.
The virtual race can be run from any location the athletes choose at their own pace on their own time.
Virtual runners take part from home, gardens, and running machines via their computers, smartphones and other electronic apparatuses.
Accordingly, the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold, Derartu Tulu, participated in the virtual race from her garden while the three-time Olympic champion, Kenenisa Bekele ran in his home in Addis Ababa.
Likewise, Tirunesh Dibaba who is also a three-time Olympic Champion ran at an empty National Stadium in Addis Ababa with her sisters Genzebe and Ejegayehu.
Leading Organizer of the virtual run, Gashaw Abeza told ENA that the run aims to trim down health, economic and psychological impacts posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He pointed out that the virtual race eases psychological impacts, especially for those who lived in hard-hit countries by the virus like in Europe and the United States, seating at home for so long and unable to work freely.
The fund will be offered for two Ethiopia-based non-profit organizations that are helping the country’s efforts in combating the coronavirus, he added.
Virtual racing becomes popular amid the spread of coronavirus pandemic across the globe.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has made athletes take their pursuit of medals and personal best times indoors.