Abebe Bikila Day

High Cloud Foundation presents


International Peace Half-Marathon   (13.1 miles, 21.0975 km)
   Saturday, September 15, 2012 – 8:00 am
C&O Canal Towpath from 1100 Potomac Street NW, Washington DC in Georgetown

to Lock 7 and back

Complete Results
Course Map
Welcome Letter

  • Host hotel     • Key Bridge Marriott, 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington VA 22209 (703-524-6400) one mile from start (special rate by August 14)
  • Pre-Race         • Packet pick-up • Georgetown Running Company, 3401 M Street, Washington DC (703-337-8626) Friday, September 14, 3-6 PM
  • Race Day        • Packet pick-up on-site 1100 Potomac Street NW, Washington DC, Saturday, September 15, 6:45-7:45 AM • No race-day registration
  • In memory of the victims of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, we ring a memorial bell 184 times at 7:45 AM
  • Course:   Flat, fast, 100% unpaved gravel, scenic views of the Potomac River – starts 250 meters east of Milestone 1
  • Water/Aid stations at Milestones 3, 5, and 7, assisted by Capital Area Runners and DC Capital Striders
  • Course will be USATF-certified • Presented by the team that brought you High Cloud Snapple Half Marathon    
  • Compete with the area's top international athletes • Medals for all finishers   • Limited to the first 250 entrants  
  • Post-race       • International music & refreshments
  • Awards to state & nation teams • You are automatically on your state's or nation's team, top 3 count
  • Awards                
    • Commemorative t-shirt and medals for all finishers
    • Gift certificates from Georgetown Running Company for top 3 finishers by 10-year age-group M/F
  • Benefits           
  • Sponsors
    • Please contact the race director (info@highcloud.org) to sponsor our event
    • Read our sponsor letter
    • We list all sponsors on our entry form, web site, and t-shirt, and we include their flyers or samples in our goodie bag

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    11 September is also Ethiopian New Year's Day

    REMEMBERING A MAN WHO CHANGED THE WORLD. Abebe Bikila was born in Mout, Ethiopia, August 7, 1932, the day of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Marathon. 28 years later, on September 10, 1960, he ran the Rome Olympic Marathon barefooted. He and his coach, Onni Niskanen, planned his decisive move to be one kilometer from the finish, where the course passed the Obelisk of Axum, a monument plundered from Ethiopia by Italian troops in 1935 and taken to Rome. When Bikila reached the obelisk, he pulled away from Rhadi Ben Abdesselem of Morocco to win by 200m in 2:15:16. His victory made him a national hero and inspired athletes around the world. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Marathon, despite an appendectomy 40 days before the race, Bikila ran again, this time in socks and shoes. He took the lead by the halfway mark and won by more than four minutes. His time, 2:12:11, was a world best for the marathon -- and the first time anyone won two Olympic marathons. Instead of a victory lap in Olympic Stadium, he performed jumping jacks and other exercises after his race while other runners crossed the finish line. At the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Marathon, Bikila tried for a third win, but affected by the heat and altitude, he dropped out after 17 kilometers, instead cheering on his countryman Mamo Wolde to victory. In 1969, a car crash near Addis Ababa left Bikila paralyzed from the waist down. As a wheelchair athlete, he won gold medals in 1970 at 10K and 25K cross-country sledge competitions in Norway, but he never regained full health and died in Addis Ababa on October 25, 1973.

    The Obelisk of Axum that motivated  Abebe Bikila was returned to Axum, Ethiopia, in April 2005 and awaits re-assembly.   Bikila's memory lives on.

    Sources: www.wikipedia.org | www.olympic.org | www.ethiopians.com