Runners for Ethiopia, the charity of the 10K Valencia Ibercaja 2023, brings together a group of runners, trainers, triathletes and group of runners, coaches, triathletes and physiotherapists who travel to the African country to help young local athletes without resources.
This is the story of the solidarity organisation of the next edition of the 10K Valencia Ibercaja, Runners for Ethiopia, a project to which the race is more than linked. Its director, Álex Aparicio, is part of the group of promoters of the solidarity expeditions to the African country. Here we tell you part of his story, with the testimony of Jordi Reig.
The beginnings: 2013
It all started in 2013. Jordi Reig, physiotherapist and triathlete, was invited to travel to Ethiopia by Jesús Calleja. The aim was to train and run the Marathon in the African country. But the sporting experience went beyond that. Jordi became aware of the scarce resources available to the young athletes there. They wore and refused to wear self-fitted shoes, they had no qualified professional to help them with a simple sprain... They do what they can.
So, as soon as he returned from this trip, he knew he had to do something. And 2014 arrived, just one year later the first stone was laid for the Runners for Ethiopia project, the charity of the 15th edition of the 10K Valencia Ibercaja (15 January 2023).
That year Jordi Reig, together with his friends Ángeles Santos, also a physiotherapist, and Raul Campeny, physical trainer, returned to Ethiopia. But now with an even clearer objective. They took sports equipment to donate, treated athletes and trained local physiotherapists and coaches. Just three people in one visit were able to help a lot. And that was the beginning of what was to follow.
2015: first official expedition
After that first trip in 2014, it didn't take them long to organise and carry out their first "official" expedition under the name of what was already a new and exciting project: "Runners for Ethiopia".
It was 2015 when they managed to bring together physiotherapists, runners and volunteers from all over the country to return to Ethiopia and help them further. Today, that group has grown into a large team that combines their passion for athletics and Ethiopia to help improve the situation of these young runners.
Five expeditions and one tonne of donated material
From that first trip until 2019, an average of 50 travellers have joined each expedition. Between 250 and 270 travellers in total, who have managed to take over a ton of solidarity material to the African country in each edition. Between shoes, textiles, physiotherapy and rehabilitation material.
Runners for Ethiopia hopes to resume the expeditions in 2023, expeditions that are possible thanks to the company that organised Jesús Calleja's trips, 'Rift Valley Expeditions', experts in trips to Africa, who collaborate with the project by offering the trips to Ethiopia for the organisation at cost price.
How can runners help?
Jordi Reig himself, founder of the project, tells us more about Runners for Ethiopia in an interview with the 10K Valencia Ibercaja.
When asked about how a runner can help the project, he says that the biggest help he can do "is to come to Ethiopia to run and experience first-hand the experience of running and training with the local athletes in the cradle of world athletics. With this we transport an extra 20kg of solidarity materials for each traveller who decides to join the expedition".
In addition, once in Ethiopia "the best part remains, visiting the different athletics centres to donate all the material transported directly to the young athletes without resources".
Runners can also collaborate in the different crowdfundings they set up "by contributing money that is then used to buy materials. What every runner can do is to spread the word about the project in their networks and in their groups of runners and friends...", he adds.
In fact, runners can start collaborating by opting for the solidarity contribution of 3, 5 or 10 euros during the registration process for the 15th edition of the 10K Valencia Ibercaja on 15 January 2023.
Jordi tells us that for Runners for Ethiopia, being the charity of this race is "a real satisfaction. For many years we have made a great effort, and now this event is a great reward for us as it will surely be a great boost for the project".
"The help we especially need now is diffusion and that more runners join our next trip, because this way we will be able to transport more materials and we will be more to help in the African country", says Jordi.
A unique experience
"It is a unique experience. You get to know the country by doing what we love the most, which is running. Training with the local athletes, living with them and, to top it all off, running the Marathon, 21K or 10K in Ethiopia.Youdon't have to be a professional runner to come, any volunteer can do it, as there are many tasks in which you can help without being a runner", he says.
Likewise, as those of you who know a little about the project already know, the group of runners is always "joined by physiotherapists and trainers. In this way, we help the young athletes in every way, treating their injuries, providing them with equipment, training their physiotherapists and trainers... so that they can be self-sufficient when we are not there. This part is also fundamental in the help we give them".
You know, alluding to its motto...#quenotelocuentenvívello
More information about Runners for Ethiopia on their website: