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Ethiopia Native Brings Running Grace To Gophers

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Eric Nelson Eric Nelson
Eric was born in Southern California and grew up playing sports in the...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -– The Gopher track team is a national contender with international talent.

Harun Abda is a sophomore who speaks two languages and has feet that have broken university records.

His teammates say he runs with an effortless grace.

“He’s very smooth,” said Jacob Capek, Abda’s teammate. “He’s very efficient, it’s almost like he’s running effortlessly.”

Abda’s gliding style is a perfect fit for the Gophers 4 by 400 relay team that qualified for the NCAA Championships. Abda also is a middle distance dynamo, and he recently set a University of Minnesota record in the 800-meter run.

“I’m really happy that I can do it and that I can help the team sometimes,” Abda said.

Abda came to Minnesota from Ethiopia, which his family fled to due political turmoil when he was 13 years old. They briefly resided in Kenya before settling in Minnesota.

He said Minnesotans were welcoming to his family and that they often helped the Abdas as they improved their English.

Abda hopes to someday to become a citizen of the United States. The paper work has been done and so he may be one in the coming months.

One of his track coaches, Paul Thornton, said that Abda is one of those people that everyone likes.

“He’s polite, he’s kind, he’s smart, he tries awfully hard; he’s a true leader for us,” Thornton said.

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