His high school cross country team at GHS won the AAU nationals during his freshman year. He won six state titles while in high school, two each in cross country, the 1600 and 3200 meters.
While at Bevill State, Ege ran his top 8K time of 25:05. He earned all-American status on the junior college level with his third-place finish at the NJCAA National Cross Country Championships. Ege also finished second in his junior college region in cross country.
Gedamu is currently living in Starkville while finishing his junior college course work at Meridian CC. He also works full time.
Gedamu Ege is the son of Tadelce and Josephine debe Ege.
Gedamu Ege Interview:
I know you are originally from Ethiopia. How long have you lived in the United States?
"Ten years. I grew up in Atlanta."
Which came first for you while in high school, cross country or track?
"I started with soccer. In high school, my basketball coach was also our track coach. He got me to come out and start running. He put me on the road race. When I started winning, I got more confident. Everytime I won, I wanted to run more."
What's the difference in cross country in junior college and a four-year college?
"Cross country is five miles in junior college and six miles in a four-year college."
How did you wind up signing with Mississippi State?
"I went to Grady High School (in Atlanta). (MSU assistant coach) Steve (Dudley) contacted my high school coach and recruited me for Bevill State. I went there in 2000 for cross country and track. [Steve Dudley was coaching at Bevill State CC when he first recruited Gedamu out of high school.-Gene]
"(Out of Bevill State) I was heavily recruited by Winthrop in South Carolina, but I love Steve (Dudley). He was like a parent to me. He was always asking me how my school work was. He made sure I was going to graduate from college. I then started thinking I've got to go run for him."
Now that you are at Mississippi State, what do you hope to achieve?
I was expecting you to say something like winning a national championship or something similar to that.
"Athletically, that is the first thing I would think about, but you asked me what I wanted. And I want to graduate."
You are obviously a very talented cross country runner. To be so talented, you must have great stamina and endurance. Is that something that you've always naturally had?
"Not really. I never thought I would run on this level when I first started. I just ran for the fun of it. When I started winning, that's when my training really started."
You mentioned running is fun to you. Earlier you told me you just got through running 9 miles. Was running 9 miles today fun for you?
"It is fun to me. It doesn't bother me that much when I train."
Do you feel any pain like so many of us do when we run or has your body adjusted to the running?
"Some days I feel pain, some days I don't. When we do workout days, that is a painful day because we have to run hard and fast and hit our times. We work out every Wednesday by starting out with sixteen 6 minute, 5:40, 5:30 and 5:20. That is painful and you are hurting when you finish. You can barely move. The next day you run 7 minute, 6:15 and 6:30 paces. That is when you know you are in good shape. You are then strong enough to run a race and beat somebody."
Do you run 52 weeks a year or do you take off during the year?
"We take some time off. When we finish cross country, we probably take two weeks off. That's when we change over from cross country to track."
What kind of injuries do you have to deal with as a runner?
"Shin splits, rolling your ankle and hurting your knees. I don't get many injuries but speed guys and big guys get a lot of injuries."
Do you think you will quit running once you are through with competitive running?
"I don't think I can help it. Even when I'm not running, my mind is saying I've got to go run. I don't know what the future holds, but even when I get old I am going to (try to always) run. My high school coach is 55 years old and still running. If he can run, I can run at his age, also."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.