The 9th Choice Women First 5Km run organized by Great Ethiopian Run will be held on Sunday March 11, 2012. The event is committed to empowering women and has grown from 5,000 participants to 9,000 in the past eight years. The event which is sponsored by various organizations including Choice, Plan International, Irish Aid, Concern and many others has become a popular annual women's festival in Ethiopia.
On behalf of the race, a concert was held at Unity University last Sunday February 12th, where official registration began. Representatives of the event's sponsors were thanked and presented with the official running T-shirt. Among invited guests Melese Demesse, Addis Ababa Women's Children and Youth Affairs PR was one of them. Melese Demesse stated that this event should be highly encouraged and should be done more often. He also said that women's participation in every sector is vital for the country.
Musician and activist Chachi Tadesse said that women need to understand just how valuable they are. “Women can do anything if they set their mind to it; women are powerful; we need to help and encourage each other,” she said.
Mehari Brothers performed at the event. Luwam Mehari base player of the band said that this is the 3rd time his band performed for a Great Ethiopian Run organized Women First run launch.
“As far as I know this is the only event held for women only, I would like to see women involved in different aspects of the society not just running. For example I'm a musician and I don't see an all women band or even a woman playing an instrument in a band. I would really like to see that happen.”
Other than empowering women, Women First is a platform for aspiring female athletes like Aselefech Mergia who won the race in 2007 and 2009 and then went on to second place in the London marathon in 2010. She ended up winning the Dubai marathon this year.
Great Ethiopian Run stage ed the first Women 5Km in 2004 in connection with the celebration of international women's day. This race is one of the most colorful races in Ethiopia. Messages that have been publicized through this event include “What if women decide for themselves” and “Stop violence against women” endorsed by athlete Meseret Defar.
Official running T-shirts are sold at Dembel, Edna Mall, Hilton and Wabi Shebele Hotel for 50birr. The race will start at Atlas Hotel at 9 am and finish at the same place.