Great Ethiopian Run 2019

Looking for a challenge with a difference for 2019? Join us for The Great Ethiopian Run – Africa’s BIGGEST running event and visit to Orbis rural community programmes. Established in 2001 by one of the world's greatest long-distance runners, Haile Gebrselassie, The Great Ethiopian Run is not to be missed!

On Sunday 17th November 2019, over 46,000 people will take to the streets of Addis Ababa to take part in Africa's biggest road race, a challenging 10km run at 10,000ft above sea level. There will be a wide variety of runners from all age groups, nationalities and fitness levels taking part but the carnival atmosphere that takes over the city will help the crowd surge forward.

Orbis and The Great Ethiopian Run

This will be the 10th year that Orbis will be participating in the Great Ethiopian Run and our 21st year working in Ethiopia. Join us for a week long trip, along with other Orbis supporters from Ireland and Hong Kong for a 10km race with a difference and an opportunity to visit some of the Orbis rural eye health programmes in southern Ethiopia too.

Orbis works with our partners across all levels of the healthcare system to train local teams to save sight in their communities. From establishing eye care units in rural areas and fighting trachoma, to building the capacity of specialist eye care units in tertiary hospitals, we have transformed lives through preventing and treating avoidable blindness.

Ethiopia has a rich culture, fascinating history and incredibly welcoming people so there is plenty to enjoy while visiting this unique country. Joining us at the 2019 Great Ethiopian Run means that you will be giving the gift of sight. As part of your trip, you will have the chance to witness Orbis at work in the local community, visit a local school and water station and see how Orbis is making real change happen in southern Ethiopia.

Read about Emma’s experience of the Great Ethiopian Run 2018 here and her experience of visiting Gama Gofa and Orbis’s rural programmes here.

Key dates

Departing Thursday 14th (evening) and returning Thursday 21st November (early morning) 2019. There is also an option of not joining the group in Southern Ethiopia and returning Monday 18th November instead.


Thursday 14th November

  • Depart London (overnight flight)

Friday 15th November

  • Arrive in Addis Ababa – welcome reception and breakfast
  • Visit Orbis project at Menelik II Hospital, a key long-term partner of Orbis as well as a tertiary eye care unit in Ethiopia
  • Traditional Ethiopian dinner and entertainment

Saturday 16th November

  • Great Ethiopian Run Children’s Race
  • Sightseeing; Ethnographic museum, Kidist Selasseie cathedral church (Trinity), Entoto (Menelik II palace and church museum)
  • Great Ethiopian Run Pasta Party

Sunday 17th November

  • Great Ethiopian Run 2019
  • Celebrations!

Monday 18th November

  • Return flight to London OR travel to Orbis rural projects in Gamo Gafa, southern Ethiopia
  • Dorze Village Tour

Tuesday 19th November

  • Visit partner hospital, observe live surgeries, visit local community and school

Wednesday 20th November

  • Chamo lake river cruise
  • Fly Arba Minch to Addis Ababa
  • Return flight to London (arrival on Thursday 21st November)

Next steps

Registration for the 2019 event has now closed. If you're interested in taking part in the 2020 event, please contact Emma on [email protected] or 0207 608 7270


Hear from some of our previous runners how incredible taking part in the Great Ethiopian Run for Orbis can be.

I left Ethiopia with new found knowledge of the stunning country and it's beautiful people. I have a much deeper respect for Orbis, and the amazing work they do. It was an emotional experience to say the least, one that will last a lifetime. Thank you to both Orbis and PHB Ethical Beauty for such a life-changing opportunity!


Orbis supporter

Visiting Ethiopia with Orbis really was the trip of a life-time. I was very lucky to visit such a beautiful and interesting country. It was really informative and taught me a lot about the problems faced by people in Ethiopia, the country with the highest % of trachoma cases and thus the highest rate of preventable blindness.


Orbis supporter

This year, after 3 years of supporting Orbis UK through our charity, The OneLove Foundation, they contacted us about taking part in the Great Ethiopia Run. The work Orbis does to help save sight in countries around the world has touched us deeply for many years, and we were so excited by this opportunity and compelled to act.


Orbis supporter