Day 9 of Run Across Ethiopia: Music to our ears

Imagine that you’re a poor farmer in the Sidamo region of southern Ethiopia — an African herdsman — living in a mud hut by the side of the road. Imagine that you walk out your doorway into the sunlight one morning, and there at 7 a.m., a bunch of “ferenges” (“foreigners” in Amharic, probably derived from “Frenchies”) in skimpy running shorts are laying there on the grass, stretching. Imagine, too, that a couple white musicians are playing guitars and singing. You think, what on Earth! This scene has likely never happened before in such a remote part of East Africa.

But that’s just what form the Run Across Ethiopia took on Day 9. Earthworks musicians Seth Bernard and May Erlewine joined the team for today’s 16-mile run, which took us into the Yirgachefe coffee region, and a mere 36 miles from our ultimate destination on Thursday. At every water and food stop along the road, Seth and May lit up the crowds of villagers and children, who clapped, danced, and engaged in the sort of cross-cultural love and understanding that music knows best. At one point, RAE harrier Nigel Willerton requested a Beatles tune as he jogged by without stopping. Seth played “All we need is love”, and out of the crowd hobbled a weary old man carrying a massive rolled-up animal skin over his shoulder. He began hopping up and down and dancing to the song.

View videos below of Seth and May’s roadside performances, and other clips from Day 9 of the Run Across Ethiopia. 214 miles in the books. Just 36 to go!

Seth Bernard and May Erlewine jam by a roadside hut this morning:

Playing the blues in Ethiopia. Later on, the aforementioned leather bearer feels inspired by Seth and May’s rendition of the Beatles’ “All we need is love”.

Our talented and lovely interpreter Betty, and Timothy Young’s son Connor, join the run on Day 9.

Nigel the Brit decides to stay in the pack on Day 9, provided that he’ll be allowed to run extra miles at the conclusion of today’s leg.