The leading field

Balmoral Champs set off for Ethiopia - 20 November 2012

Balmoral Trail Running Challenge champions Robbie Simpson and Morgan Windram-Geddes head off to Ethiopia on Wednesday 21st November for this weekend’s Great Ethiopian 10K Run in Addis Ababa.Robbie Simpson winning the Petrofac Challenge 2012 Morgan Windram-Geddes wins Petrofac Challenge 2012

Robbie and Morgan earned the exciting trip to Africa by winning the men’s and women’s titles in the Petrofac 15 mile Challenge race at Balmoral in April.

RunBalmoral organisers and sponsors offered this amazing prize to the top man and woman as a means of providing Scottish athletes with the chance to experience top class competition overseas.

Simpson, who represents Deeside Runners, has competed in some big international mountain races over the past few years, but admits the African event will be a completely different experience.

He said:

"It's about an eight hour flight to get there from London, which is the furthest I have ever travelled before, so that will be new in itself.

The race is held at about 8,000ft above sea level, so that will  make it really hard, especially since I'll only have a couple of days to get used to the altitude.

Some of the mountain races I did in Switzerland and Italy during the summer were at about 6,000ft and the Jungfrau marathon finished at 8,000ft, so I know how hard it can be to run at that altitude.

It’s difficult to know how I'll tackle the race. Once I get there I'll do a few training runs to judge how I'm feeling, then I'll be able to guage how hard I can run in the race.

But I'm really looking forward to it. It should be quite an incredible event.

Apparently there's between 20,000 and 30,000 runners taking part, and many more just join in along the way."

Robbie and Morgan will be looked after during their stay in Ethiopia by former Great Britain marathon international Richard Nerurkar.   Nerurkar is one of the race organisers and he is a personal friend on legendary Ethiopian distance running star Haile Gebreselassie.   It's almost certain that the Robbie and Morgan runners will get the chance to meet Gebreselassie when they are in Addis Ababa.

Robbie said:

"That would be great. The whole thing is just amazing and I'm sure I'll enjoy it."

Morgan is making the trip despite the huge disappointment of not being able to compete in the race as she sustained a serious hip injury when falling from her bike a couple of weeks ago.

She said:

“I am very excited about it all!  I am sad too, however, that I can't  run. The physio said that maybe by the New Year I should be able to resume slowly.”

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