Ethiopia is to marathon what Brazil is to football, said the Ethiopian country coordinator Aberu Zewede as the athletes from the African nation ran away with all the top places at the 28th Pune International Marathon on Sunday.
Citing the country's topography as the main reason behind producing top-class long distance runners, he said: "Our runners are gifted. It's something like Brazilians when it comes to football."
"Running becomes natural for an Ethiopian because of the high altitudes.
"On an average we live on 3,000 metres altitudes. We have some ranges at a peak of well over 4000m," Zewede said giving example of MountBatu that sits at a peak of 4307m.
"The boys and girls automatically develop high stamina and endurance. We are proud to be a country of marathoners," he said basking in the glory of the Ethiopian contingent that returned with three gold, one silver and three bronze medals from three events.
Belachew Endale Abayneh clinched the 28th Pune International Marathon title for his maiden crown while Habtamu Arga and Aberu Zewude Tesema won the men's and women's half marathon titles respectively, making it three gold medals out of three.
However, he was not happy with the timing they produced.
Blaming it on the weather and traffic mismanagement, he said: "Yesterday the weather was calm as we trained. But it was energy-sapping in the morning and the traffic chaos added to the woes."
Asked about the Kenyan fight, he said: "Yes they were challenging but till the midway course. Thereafter, it was all Ethiopians. We like to dominate the race."
Image: Haile Gebrselassie of Ethopia
Photograph: Michael Steele/Allsport/Getty Images