On your marks! RTE's Aidan Power to join 45 Irish charity volunteers for Great Ethiopian Run
Published 16/11/2015 | 12:04
While the weather turns cold and wet in Ireland, RTE's Aidan Power is set to jet off to a rather sunnier climate.
The Dublin native will travel to Ethiopia later this week with charity Orbis Ireland, where he will join 45 volunteers from around the country.
While there, the former ‘The Cafe’ host will take part in the Great Ethiopian Run, which is a huge event in the country’s capital Addis Ababa and is often cited as the world’s most colourful race.
Although Irish runners will be running in heat they may not be used to, that’s not the main thing worrying the broadcaster.
“What concerns me slightly is the altitude. I’m already planning excuses in my head. I haven’t done a lot of training for it, but I’m told it’s more of a sightseeing run anyway. I haven’t even though about what time I’d like to finish in,” he said.
More than 40,000 people from around the world will take part in the race, with an Ethiopian man and woman winning both categories since its inception.
After the picturesque 10k run, Aidan and the volunteers will journey 500 miles south, to one of Orbis Ireland’s projects, where they work to eliminate preventable eye disease trachoma in a region of two million people.
This will be the 36-year-old’s first time in Africa, which he is approaching with an “open mind”.
“I’m unbelievably excited about it. I think I’m going with as much as an open mind as possible. From growing up in the eighties, I have memories of Ethiopia from seeing all the appeals when they were going throw a famine.
“Those images are very much still in my mind. I would imagine some of it is very similar to that and that’s the kind of thing we will be seeing.
"Our sight is something so many of us take for granted, and the service that Orbis Ireland provides is changing lives. For just €6 they are restoring sight for children, women and men in some of the most rural areas in Ethiopia. I’m looking forward to seeing their operations first hand.”
Not long after he returns home, Aidan and fellow broadcaster Grainne Seoige will present some of Ireland's unsung heroes with well-earned accolades at next month's People of the Year Awards.
Those who win at this year’s awards will join a respected list of former recipients, which includes disability rights advocate Joanne O’Riordan, Pieta House founder Joan Freeman and the late suicide prevention campaigner Donal Walsh.
Co-host Power said that these awards are incredibly important and aren’t like other “nonsense” award shows.
“We’ll be handing out real awards to real people. I know that sounds cliched and naff, but there are plenty of award shows around for people who don’t deserve awards,” he said.
"This is for real, everyday civilians who do incredible things.”