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WATCH: The story of the women on the NN Running Team

Three-time world record holder Letesenbet Gidey opens up on what it is like growing up as a female runner in Ethiopia

The world’s top distance running team (NN Running) released a short documentary on their YouTube page about the female Ethiopian runners on the team.

In the short video, three-time world record holder Letenesbet Gidey and her training partner Yalemzerf Yehualaw talk about what it was like growing up as a female distance runners in Ethiopia.

“When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a doctor or pilot, but now as a professional athlete – I am having fun,” said Gidey. “When I first started the sport, I liked it, and I wanted to run. I believe that I can do anything.”

Letesenbet Gidey smashes world record at Valencia Half-Marathon

It is difficult to pursue the sport as a woman in Ethiopia – your parents want you to get married and start a family young. Gidey also noted that there aren’t many programs in Ethiopia for young females to train and that going out for a run is unsafe.

The 2021 Prefontaine Classic: Letesenbet Gidey leading the two-mile. Photo: Pat Holleran/Shannon Digital Imaging

Both Gidey and Yehualaw mention that Ethiopian running greats Kenenisa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie have done a lot to grow the sport in Ethiopia, “Conditions today for female runners are better than they were 10 to 15 years ago,” said Gidey.

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Yalemzerf Yehualaw winning the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Northern Ireland in 1:03:43

“Our (NN Running) group is a family,” said Yehualaw. “We encourage each other and work together to make everyone better.”

Breaking down Letesenbet Gidey’s incredible 10,000m world record

Both Gidey and Yehualaw reflected on their records so far and said they aren’t finished yet. Both athletes want to break more world records to set a precedent for aspiring female runners.