In the shadow of Abebe Bikila’s colossal fame is Addis Gezahegn, the first Ethiopian and African woman to win a major marathon. She finished the 1991 Rotterdam Marathon in 2:35:04, a record at the time for an African woman. She also competed in Tokyo in 1990, the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992, and a in a total of 30 international tournaments.
She usually ran in men’s races, as separate races for women were almost nonexistent. Addis participated in the annual Abebe Bikila Marathon for men in Addis Ababa in 1989, her first ever 42 kilometers. Her spontaneous performance and non-fatigable physique could not pass unnoted by talent explorers of the national squad. At 155 centimeters high and weighing 45 kilograms, Addis still runs as a life experience, though she retired in 2011. EBR’s Abiy Wendifraw, chatted with the sport’s stuntwoman about her captivating story.