The Great Ethiopian Run, a 10-kilometer (6-mile) international road race, returned to the streets of the capital Addis Ababa on Sunday after a two-year hiatus due to the conflict with Tigray insurgents and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The race, founded in 2001 by Haile Gebrselassie, a retired Ethiopian Olympic gold medalist, was replaced by a virtual competition in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

While a state of emergency was announced last year as a result of the war’s escalation, the event was also pushed back until 2022.

On a windy Sunday morning, according to the organizers, 25,000 men and women of all ages dressed in green, yellow, and red sporting jerseys brought color and a sense of optimism to the capital, which has been reeling from the impact of the year-long Tigray conflict.

Abay Getachew, 35, a businessman who ran in the marathon, told Anadolu Agency that the resumption of the race is a good sign, showing that normalcy is returning to the war-torn city.

“The war had had a negative impact on the economy, and several embassies and international organizations relocated their staff,” he said, adding that the conflict has receded and foreigners are returning.

Selamawit Belay, a 25-year-old civil servant, described the race as a carnival that allowed the young to enjoy unity and fun. “I will be here next year with my family,” he said.​​​​​​​

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