Christmas Day 01


Surrounding Yaya Village, the picturesque area of Sululta is fast developing into Ethiopia’s number one spot for endurance training. Construction is visible everywhere, from hotels, houses and apartments, to training facilities.

Kenenisa Bekele has invested over $1.5 million to built a stunning six-lane all-weather track, just a kilometre down the road from Yaya Village. It has just had its lines painted and is in the final stages of landscaping, with the possibility of being extended to eight lanes to host major competitions in the future.

The track has been constructed with a softer surface ideal for endurance athletes and I was excited to be one of the first ‘ferengi’ (foreigners, as the locals call us) to put it to the test.

Christmas Day provided the perfect opportunity. It was a still and crisp morning, warming quickly with the rising sunshine. Nic set me the workout – 4x4x500m with 30 seconds between 500s and 3 minutes between sets. Looks reasonable on paper but at 2750m of altitude it was not just the location that was breathtaking!

Kevin held the whistle and made sure I was hitting my target times – when I felt that my legs could no longer carry me he reassured me that really they could. As my first full track session since before the London 2012 Olympic Games – five months ago – I am pleased to report it was job done.

I am now a fan of high altitude track training. It certainly takes you to places you do not wish to visit too often, but in the context of Nic’s structured training plan I hope it will provide me with that extra edge!