Ethiopia marathon offers DoD civilian opportunities
December 9, 2013
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Anne Delp has been pounding the pavement for more than 25 years, rain or shine. An avid runner, she competes in at least half a dozen races a year all over the world.
Recently, she and her family traveled to Ethiopia to run in the first-ever Haile Gebrselassie Marathon and Half-Marathon. Gebrselassie, is a famous Olympian long-distance runner from Ethiopia. Delp won the half marathon in the international women's division. Daughters Lilly, 7, Reese, 9, rant the five kilometer race.
For Delp and her family, the race was almost a homecoming of sorts.
"It seemed like the perfect opportunity and the coming together all of the things we love - Ethiopia and running," said Delp, an environmental engineer for the Defense Logistics Agency at U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz's Kleber Kaserne.
Earlier this year, Delp's husband, Mike, saw the ad for the marathon in Runner's World magazine.
"We'd been saying we wanted to go back, we just needed a reason," she said.
They first visited Ethiopia almost seven years ago to adopt Lilly from a local orphanage there. Ever since then, they've longed to return to show their daughter her birthplace and give back to the local community.
"The needs there are really tremendous, especially when you go to the orphanage, things like diapers. It is such a critical need because they just don't have excess to good disposable diapers and we noticed that the first time we went to get our daughter," she said.
The trip was also an opportunity to bring donations from the Kaiserslautern Military Community to Ethiopia.
A group from Church of Christ and the KMC Homeschool Fellowship donated money, diapers, toys, medical supplies, backpacks, candy and other items. While in Ethiopia, Delp distributed those things to children at local orphanages, including the one where Elizabeth was adopted.
"That was just fabulous to have that support from the families here. They really did a lot and we brought almost 10 huge boxes full of donations," she said. "We got to go deliver them at the orphanages and it was a really neat experience."
Delp made sure that she documented their visit through photos to show supporters like Erin Acevedo, exactly how their donations were making a difference.
"It was really a wonderful opportunity for us to become involved in this, obviously, we would have loved to go on a trip like that, but this was our nearest outlet to be able to be involved," Acevedo said. "Through them, we were able to give something back and do something good for others."
Moray Mountain Sports, a California-based company, organized the race and coordinated local trips for visiting foreigners. The race, the first of its kind, is planned to be held annually now. During their trip, the Delp family also went on tours, performed charity work and spent a week in the capital city of Addis Abada.
"Ethiopia is really an incredible country and just a really beautiful place. It's not somewhere that people particularly think of going to for vacation, but the landscape is gorgeous and the people are so sweet and warm and the food is amazing," Delp said. "It just has a lot to offer. But, sadly, I don't think that message has gotten out."