Bekoji is a town in the Oromia region of Ethiopa situated 200 miles south of Addis Ababa, but perhaps most significantly, situated 2,800 metres above sea level.
Town of Runners is a documentary about a group of athletes from the town and their struggles to try and make it as world class athletes. With a population of around 17,000 it’s therefore surprising to learn that this small town in one of the world’s poorest countries lays claim to some of the greatest distance runners in the past 20 years. Olympic champion Deratu Tulu – the first African women to win an Olympic gold medal, brothers Kenenisa and Tariku Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba all come from Bekoji and count coach Sentayehu Eshelu as their first athletics coach.
Much of the story is told through Biruk Fikadu, who wants to be a runner or a doctor over, a period of 3 years since Tirunesh Dibaba won Olympic gold in Beijing over both 5000 and 1000 metres.
Available to purchase on DVD, and also being shown in a few cinemas, some with Q & A session with the director Jerry Rothwell.