Balmoral Castle the backdrop to the race

Ethiopian to make record bid in Stena Drilling Tartan 10K - 20 April 2012

Edao Hussen Weliy will travel from the Ethiopian Highlands to the edge of the Scottish Highlands to compete in the Balmoral road races on Saturday 28th April.

The 29 year-old comes from the  rural town of Bekoji situated at a height of almost 10,000ft in the centre of the East African country about 170 miles south of the capital Addis Ababa.

Bekoji, population less than 20,000, has produced a remarkable crop of exceptional distance runners over the years, many of whom have been guided through their formative years by Sentayehu Eshetu, a man known simply as 'coach.'

At this summer's London Olympic Games, two of his most successful former prodigies, Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba, will defend their 5,000m and 10,000m titles.

He also advised Derartu Tulu, who won the Olympic 10,000m in Barcelona in 1992 and eight years later in Sydney.

Fatuma Roba, who won the Olympic women's marathon in 1996 in Atlanta is another that he has coached.

And the new generation of champions – Tirunesh's sister Genzebe, 21, the world indoor 1500m champion, and Kenenisa's younger brother Tariku the world indoor 3,000m winner, have also come under his watch in Bekoji.

Edao is also coached by Sentayehu, and while he may not quite be in the same league as these world beaters, he is a classy athlete and is more than capable of challenging the Stena Drilling Tartan 10K record of 31min 23sec set by Robert Russell in 2007.

Edao has a best time of under 30 minutes set at high altitude in Ethiopia.

There has been such strong interest in the success of the athletes from Bekoji that a documentary film has been made about how the community provides its young people with opportunities to enhance their life prospects through their talent for running. 

The film,'Town of Runners' is currently being shown at UK cinemas.

Edao will link up with coach Sentayehu during his stay in Britain to promote the work being done in Bekoji.

They will be appearing at special events hosted by the London School of Economics and Oxford University during the week after Balmoral.

Edao will also run as a pacemaker in next month's Belfast marathon.

Further details about the documentary can be found at

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