The London 2012 Olympic Games were exhilarating and as you can imagine it took all of my physical and mental energy to perform at my very best. I raced close to 70 kilometres on the track this year compared to 17 kilometres in 2011 and this took its toll. I was depleted and blood tests indicated that I was low on some of the vital vitamins and minerals.
So we decided to send me to Ethiopia!
I first travelled to Ethiopia in 2006, invited by Richard Nerurkar as a guest runner in the Women’s First 5km Run, which forms part of the Great Ethiopian Run series of events. Back then the country captured my heart and I returned in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In 2010 and 2011 Ethiopia did not feature in my plans but the country, its culture and its people remained with me. Before races I would often listen to Ethiopian music or try to speak a few words of Amharic with my competitors.
I was lining up behind Gelete Burka for the heats of the Olympic 5000m. “Ambasa” I said, meaning “be strong as a lion”. She was astonished to hear some Amharic, we both smiled, laughed a little and it calmed the nerves before the big race.
So after all the excitement of the summer it felt right to return to Ethiopia and get back to running in its purest, simplest form. The country produced Olympic Champions in the 5000m, 10000m and marathon so there must be something we can learn…