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Gete Wami

[Photo of Gete Wami]

12 December 1974

2:21:34 (Berlin, 2006)


22Apr07 Flora London Marathon 2nd 2:21:45
24Sep06 real,- Berlin Marathon 1st 2:21:34
06Nov05 ING New York City Marathon 7th 2:27:40


When the athletics’ historians write the annals of women’s distance running of the late 1990s and into the 21st century, Getenesh Wami’s name is sure to be included. Global titles on the track and in cross-country will ensure that as well as epic contests against her fellow Ethiopian Derartu Tulu and Britain’s Paula Radcliffe.

Wami has won 19 individual and team medals in World Cross-Country competition, including individual golds in 1996 and 1999 (long race) and 2001 (short race). She was the Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m in 1996 and then won silver (10,000m) and bronze (5000m) medals four years later in Sydney. She also earned the bronze medal for 10,000 at the 2001 IAAF World Championships.

She also has enjoyed success on the roads, including her first marathon, a 2:22:19 victory at Amsterdam in 2002, at the time the second fastest debut in history. At Tokyo in 2004 and New York in 2005 she found herself some distance behind the winners, but in between she claimed another first place at the June 2005 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego.

March of 2006 found her in pursuit of not only marathon victory but an intriguing bonus. The race organizers of the Los Angeles Marathon offered $100,000 to the first runner to cross the finish line, male or female. The women’s race began 16 minutes, 46 seconds ahead of the men’s and Wami found herself in a duel with the Russian Lidiya Grigoryeva in the last mile, losing by 16 seconds. And that was exactly the margin by which the Russian kept the men’s champion, Benson Cherono, at bay, ensuring she won the $100,000 bonus.

Wami then ran in her third World Marathon Major at the real-, Berlin Marathon in September and not only won convincingly, but set a new Ethiopian National Record, finishing in 2:21:34 (since broken by Berhane Adere).

She ended 2006 at the Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) 15K in the Netherlands and despite placing second her time of 47:31 made her equal with Rita Jeptoo as the ninth fastest woman of all-time.

Over a hilly course with hot and humid conditions, Wami won the 2007 San Blas Half-Marathon in Puerto Rico in 1:14:14. Facing more warm temperatures at the Flora London Marathon, Wami stayed with China's Zhou Chunxiu until the 24th mile, but despite falling back to second place she reached the finish in 2:21:45, just 11 seconds off her PR.


Gete Wami was born in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia. She married Geteneh Tessema in November 1999 and they have a daughter Eva born in August 2003.


19Mar06 Los Angeles Marathon 2nd 2:25:26
05Jun05 Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon 1st 2:30:55
21Nov04 Tokyo Marathon 8th 2:32:07
20Oct02 Amsterdam Marathon 1st 2:22:19