I grew up the eighth of 10 kids on a farm in Asela, Ethiopia, but now I live in Addis Ababa. I travel all the time for races. I never forget to pack my Ethiopian flag; I take it out and wave it around at the stadium. I was just in Monte Carlo for the International Amateur Athletics Federation's gala, where I was named the Athlete of the Year. I always stay at the Loews [now the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel]. They have a pool, a good gym, and a fantastic French restaurant. The night before a race I usually eat either spaghetti or rice.
My favorite place to run is Hengelo, in the Netherlands -- where my manager lives -- because I broke the 10,000-meter record there. I also like to run in Asela. I was there for four months while they were filming Endurance, a movie about my life that opens this month in the United States. My nephew plays me when I was a child; my cousin is my father as a young man, my sister plays my mother, and my father plays himself. Everyone did very well. The movie starts in 1980 when I was eight and heard on the radio about the famous Ethiopian runner Miruts Yifter's win at the Moscow Olympics. I hope it gives a good example for Ethiopian youngsters. Next, I'm heading to Maebashi, Japan, for the Indoor World Championships.
--Interviewed by Hannah Wallace