Addis Ababa: Tragedy struck the 17th edition of the 10 km Great Ethiopian Run (GER) held here when two amateur runners died from heat stroke, an official said.

Speaking to the media, Shimelis Shiferaw Deputy commissioner at Addis Ababa Police commission Kirkos district division on Sunday said the two died despite efforts to transport them to a nearby hospital. In a Facebook post, Great Ethiopian Run also confirmed the deaths while promising to give more information on the tragedy in the coming days after consulting with the deceased family members. Great Ethiopian Run, Africa's largest road race, was started by Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebreselassie as part of his efforts to turn running from an elite sport into a hobby of life.

This year's GER attracted a record 47,500 runners including 3,500 minors and 2,000 foreigners. Gebreselassie said there are plans to increase the number of participants in the road race to more than 50,000 in future editions as well as to place GER among top international athletics events.