Coaching in Ethiopia

After qualifying as a running coach in the U.S I returned to the UK and began coaching. I soon realised that I had many unanswered questions about running form and so I decided that I would carry on my coaching education based on the running form of those considered to be the best middle and long distance runners on the planet – the East Africans.

My first research visit to East Africa was to Ethiopia and the town of Bekoji. I had been extremely privileged to secure a coaching position with coach Sentayehu Eshetu. Sentayehu is responsible for producing 7 Olympic medal-winning runners: Kenenisa Bekele and his younger brother Tariku Bekele; Derartu Tulu and her cousins Ejegayehu Dibaba and Tirunesh Dibaba; Fatuma Roba and Tiki Gelana. Between them Bekoji’s runners have won a total of 16 Olympic medals – 10 of them gold and more than 30 world championship medals. = all this from Bekoji’s population of 17,000.

After the first morning with Sentayehu I was thinking about myself as a movement coach, not just a running coach and immediately started coming up with answers to many of my own questions. Over the next few weeks I learnt many skills and perceptions that formed the foundation of my work.

We are an incredibly elastic as a species. If we move with this perception we can create a running form that promotes a feeling of fluidity, connectivity and synergy.

Six years on I am still researching and coaching a thought process based on the movement of the runners of Bekoji.

Shane with Coach Sentayehu

Coach Sentayehu

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