When avid runner Katie Levy was offered the chance to race in Ethiopia, she knew it was an opportunity not to pass up.
Miss Levy, 34, spent 10 days with her local London running group, Serpentine, touring the northern highlands of the African country before arriving in the capital to take part in the 10K Great Ethiopian Run, started by world record holders for the marathon, Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebreselassie.
She tells People: “It was absolutely amazing. Ethiopia is probably the poorest country I’ve been to but it is really beautiful in terms of vibrancy.” Parts of the trip were shown in a Channel 5 documentary last month, hosted by sports commentator Rob Walker.
Miss Levy, a project manager for property website Rightmove, says she has found comfort through running during what has been a very difficult couple of years.
“Running has been my complete therapy.” How was meeting Paula Radcliffe? “She was really lovely, just gutted to be injured although she hopes to compete in the 2012 Olympics.” Miss Levy completed the run in 60 minutes. “It was really hot but the hardest thing was definitely the breathing because of the altitude. We were 2,500 metres high.”
More than 30,000 runners participated in the run, founded by the retired British Olympian and marathon runner Richard Nerurkar. Proceeds from the race go to the prevention and treatment of Mossy Foot disease.