Born in Endameskel in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, Letesenbet Gidey – a fourth child in a family of two brothers and two sisters – grew up in her family’s farm looking to initially pursue academic interests. Initially Letesenbet did not like running at all, she was even temporary expelled from school for refusing to run in physical education classes. But she had no choice and had to represent her school in local competitions. She discovered that she was talented and that running could be her calling in life.
Letensenbet Gidey is one of the few athletes who did not move to Addis Ababa. She lives in a training camp in Mekelle, far from the Ethiopian capital. This place and her club Trans helps her to focus on training and perform well at competitions. Her first big success came at the 2015 World Cross Country Champions in Guiyang where she took the win and led an Ethiopian clean sweep of the junior women’s podium. At the World Youth Championships in Cali a few months later she just missed out on a podium place by finishing fourth.