Mamo Wolde’s legacy lives on in Elgoibar

Tabor and Addis, Mamo Wolde's children (photo:
Tabor and Addis, Mamo Wolde’s son and daughter (photo:

The Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza in Elgoibar last month had two special guests.

Mamo Wolde’s son and daughter, Tabor and Addis, finally achieved one of their dreams of visiting the venue where their father won four times back in the 1960s.

“I was aware of his history in the race and that he had a statue built to honour his name,” said 23-year-old Tabor, who, like his sister, is now based in Minnesota, USA. “But prior to our trip to Spain, I had no idea there was a junior category held under Mamo Wolde’s name.

Mamo Wolde, the 1968 Olympic marathon champion, died in 2002 at the age of 69. “Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend much time with my father before he passed away,” said Tabor. “I mostly remember him through stories and memories from people who knew him.

“From what I heard and the little time I got to spend with him, he had a very likable character, very kind, and loyal to his country. He himself has said he has turned down many gifts and payments after he won races to show his loyalty to his country.”

Shortly after Wolde’s death, his family had the chance to move to the US from their native Ethiopia. “The Buttons family gave us the chance to move to America and pursue a higher education,” said Tabor. “The Flecks family collaborated with the Button family to help us settle in America. They have made our transition much easier in the United States and we consider them as our family.”

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