Running in his marathon debut Gebre Gebremariam takes the victory in New York (Getty Images)
Running in his marathon debut Gebre Gebremariam takes the victory in New York (Getty Images)
  • COUNTRY Ethiopia Ethiopia
  • DATE OF BIRTH 12 OCT 1984


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Updated 26 March 2009

GEBREEGZIABHER Gebremariam, Ethiopia (5000/10,000 m, cross country)

a.k.a. Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam
Born: 10 September 1984, Tsenkanet, Hawzen (near Adigrat), Tigray region, Ethiopia
Lives in Addis Ababa. Married to 2003 World Cross Country Champion Werknesh Kidane. Has two sons, Nathaniel and Muse.
Manager: Mark Wetmore
Club:  Banks
Coaches: Kassu Alemayehu (club) and Dr. Woldemeskel Kostre (national)
Third of six children. Parents are farmers.

Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam (whose names mean "Servant of God" and "Servant of Mary") began running in school at the urging of his older brother Gebrselassie ("Servant of the Trinity"), who had done some running himself in the Ethiopian Air Force.

In 2001, Gebre-egziabher won schools competitions at 5000, 10,000 and Half-marathon and progressed through regional races, eventually representing Tigray at the Ethiopian nationals, placing seventh in the 10,000 (31:04.61 at altitude) and fourth in the 5,000 (14:13.74). That gained him entry into the Banks athletic club, whose members included 2000 Olympic 5000m champion Million Wolde and 2003 World Cross women's long course champion Werknesh Kidane.

Gebre-egziabher made his international debut that autumn in Tanzania, placing in the top five over 5000 and 10,000. Several weeks later he ran his first cross country race in Addis Ababa and won comfortably, running barefoot. He won the junior race at Ethiopia's 2002 World Cross trials, also barefoot, and took gold in the same category at the Dublin World Cross, where he started out shod but wound up barefoot after loosing a shoe mid-race and removing the other.

He wrapped up his junior career with a gold (10,000) and a bronze (5000) at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, and went on to record impressive times (7:55.40/ 13:12.14/ 27:25.61) on the European GP circuit. Back in Ethiopia, he won the second annual Great Ethiopian Run 10K in November, ahead of Kenenisa Bekele, who was coming back from injury.

With Kenenisa out sick, Gebre-egziabher won the long race at Ethiopia's 2003 World Cross trials—this time in shoes—and then placed third behind Kenenisa and Kenya's Patrick Ivuti in the long race in Lausanne. At the Ethiopian track nationals, he broke the championships record at 10,000m (28:45.4, an impressive time at Addis Ababa's 2300 meter altitude) only to lose to Sileshi Sihine. He then turned in a series of unspectacular showings in five GP meetings (best performance: 13:03.19 PB over 5000m for sixth in Paris GL) and was selected for the Ethiopian team for the Paris World Championships 5000m, where he finished a creditable sixth, notching a PB (12:58.08) in the process. He closed out his season with a bronze at 5000m in the World Athletics Final and silvers at 10,000m in the All Africa Games (27:43.12) and Afro-Asian Games (28:08.79).

2004 began with a highly successful cross country season: three victories and a second on the European circuit and a double in the Ethiopian World Cross trials—first in the long race ahead of Sileshi Sihine and second in the 4km behind Dejene Birhanu. (Kenenisa didn't run in the trials.) Then, doubling in the Brussels World Cross, he notched a pair of silvers behind Kenenisa’s two golds, as well as his first team gold as Ethiopia broke Kenya’s seemingly unbreakable streaks in both races.

In a limited pre-Olympic track season (four races), he recorded two major PBs: 12:55.59 for fourth in Rome (behind Sileshi, Dejene and winner Eliud Kipchoge), and six days later 26:53.73 for 2nd in Ostrava behind Kenenisa’s World record. He was selected for the 5000 in Athens, where he finished a respectable fourth in the final behind Kenenisa, Kipchoge and Hicham El Guerrouj, the three medallists from the Paris 5000.

Leading up to the 2005 World Cross, Gebre-egziabher’s form remained consistent. In November, he helped the Ethiopian team to another victory in Japan’s Chiba Ekiden road relay. The next month he recorded a couple of strong wins on the Spanish cross country circuit, and in January he finished a close third behind Kipchoge and Dejene in the Edinburgh International cross country. He cruised to a pair of second places in the short and long races at the Ethiopian World Cross trials, reminiscent of his double silver in Brussels the previous year. However, at the World Cross in St. Etienne/St. Galmier, he was ninth in the short race and the next day dropped out of the long race.

A consistently successful competitor at home, Gebre-egziabher took the national title over 10,000m ahead of Abebe Dinkessa and Sydney bronze medalist Assefa Mezgebu, before winning the New York Grand Prix 3000m in 7:39.48 and running what remains his 5,000m personal best, 12:52.80, at the Rome GL, but in the wet Helsinki World Championships 10,000m, he placed 15th. He ended his season on a better note, though, with a 4th place at the World Athletics Final and a win in Korea over 5000m.

On the personal front, in 2006, Gebre-egziabher married 2003 World Cross champion and fellow Banks club member Werknesh Kidane and the couple had their first child, a son.

Gebre-egziabher’s World Cross Country outings in the years after 2005 were unremarkable, with a 13th place in the long race at Fukuoka 2006 his best showing, but it came a day after a 30th place in the final edition of the short race.

His 2006 track season was also uneventful but 2007 was a clear improvement. He was fourth in a personal best 26:52.33 in the 2007 Hengelo 10,000m that saw Haile return to the event, finishing behind Gebre-egziabher in 26:52.81.  Gebre-egziabher earned his second All Africa Games medal in Algiers that July, taking bronze behind Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese and Ethiopian cross country champion Tadesse Tola. At the Osaka World Championships, four years after his first track Worlds, Gebremariam landed the same rank of sixth while his teammates, the two-time former champion Kenenisa and Hengelo winner Sileshi took gold and silver.

Back at home, Gebremariam was third in the 2008 cross country nationals, although he only managed 17th at the Edinburgh Worlds. He ran 27:20.65 in Hengelo in 2008, this time for seventh place and behind Haile, whose runner-up finish in 26:51.20 gave him the third Olympic berth after Athens champion Kenenisa and Hengelo’s repeat winner Sileshi. But Gebremariam once again delighted Addis Ababa fans with a dominating performance at the African Championships held at the National Stadium, where he led Ibrahim Jeylan and Eshetu Wondimu in an Ethiopian sweep of the 10,000m medals on the opening day of the meet.

In his initial foray into longer events, Gebre-egziabher took second behind his compatriot, the Paris marathon champion and Olympic bronze-medalist Tsegaye Kebede, at the October Great North Run half-marathon in England in 61:29.

A proven fierce competitor at home, Gebre-egziabher showed that his national cross country results can be duplicated abroad when he snatched victory from Tariku Bekele in Alcobendas, Spain on 7 December. That further indicated that Gebre-egziabher, now a seasoned veteran on the track -- and the father of two sons off the track – is experiencing something of a comeback season. He continued to impress at Addis Ababa’s altitude, unleashing a kick at the end of the 2008 national trials in Addis Ababa on 22 February that took him well past several competitors and on to his third national victory ahead of newcomer Feyissa Lelisa, Tadesse and Tariku.

In the absence of the six-time former World 12K Champion Kenenisa Bekele, Gebre-egziabher will be one of several Ethiopians hoping to bring the crown back to Ethiopia from Amman, but whether he can again translate his successes on home turf to the international arena, this time on the global stage, remains to be seen.

Personal Bests

5000m: 12:52.80 (2005)
5000m: 26:52.33 (2007)

Yearly Progression
5000/10,000: 2001 - 14:13.74/30:02; 2002 - 13:12.14 /27:25.61;  2003 - 12:58.08/27:43.12;  2004 - 12:55.59/26:53.73; 2005 – 12:52.80 (PB)/27:11.57; 2006 – 13:30.95/27:03.95; 2007 – 13:10.29/26:52.33 (PB); 2008 – 13:36.67/27:20.65; 2009 - -/-.

Career Highlights
2002    1st    World Cross Country Championships, junior
2002    1st    World Junior Championships, 10,000m   
2002    3rd    World Junior Championships, 5,000m
2003    3rd    World Cross Country Championships, 12K
2003    6th    World Championships, 5000m
2003    3rd    World Athletics Final, 5000m
2003    2nd      All Africa Games, 10,000m
2003    2nd      Afro-Asian Games, 10,000m
2004    2nd    World Cross Country Championships, 4K
2004    2nd    World Cross Country Championships, 12K
2004    4th    Olympic Games, 5000m
2004    4th    World Athletics Final, 5000m
2005    9th    World Cross Country Championships, 4K
2005    4th    World Athletics Final, 5000m
2007    3rd    All-Africa Games, 10,000m
2007    6th    World Championships, 10,000m
2008    1st    African Championships, 10,000m

A note on Ethiopian names: Ethiopians are customarily referred to by first name or first and second name together, the second name being the father's first name.

Prepared by Sabrina Yohannes, John Manners and Elshadai Negash and for the IAAF "Focus on Athletes" project. Copyright IAAF 2003-2009.

Personal Best - Outdoor
Performance Wind Place Date
3000 Metres 7:39.48 New York, NY 11 JUN 2005
5000 Metres 12:52.80 Roma (Stadio Olimpico) 08 JUL 2005
10,000 Metres 26:52.33 Hengelo 26 MAY 2007
10 Kilometres 27:41 Cape Elizabeth, ME 07 AUG 2010
Half Marathon 1:00:25 Philadelphia, PA 19 SEP 2010
30 Kilometres 1:29:47 New York City, NY 06 NOV 2011
Marathon 2:08:00 New York City, NY 06 NOV 2011
Personal Best - Indoor
Performance Wind Place Date
3000 Metres 7:57.27 Boston (Roxbury), MA 27 JAN 2007
Two Miles 8:34.82 Boston (Roxbury), MA 28 JAN 2006
Progression - Outdoor showShow All Graphs
3000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2009 7:50.81 New York (Icahn), NY 30 MAY
2005 7:39.48 New York, NY 11 JUN
2002 7:55.40 London 23 AUG
5000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2009 13:13.20 New York City, NY 30 MAY
2008 13:36.67 Roma (Stadio Olimpico) 11 JUL
2007 13:10.29 Ostrava 27 JUN
2006 13:30.95 Berlin 03 SEP
2005 12:52.80 Roma (Stadio Olimpico) 08 JUL
2004 12:55.59 Roma (Stadio Olimpico) 02 JUL
2003 12:58.08 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 31 AUG
2002 13:12.14 Berlin 06 SEP
10,000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2012 27:03.58 Birmingham, GBR 22 JUN
2009 27:44.04 Berlin 17 AUG
2008 27:20.65 Hengelo 24 MAY
2007 26:52.33 Hengelo 26 MAY
2006 27:03.95 Bruxelles 25 AUG
2005 27:11.57 Palo Alto, CA 29 MAY
2004 26:53.73 Ostrava 08 JUN
2003 27:43.12 Abuja 12 OCT
2002 27:25.61 Bruxelles 30 AUG
10 Kilometres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 28:11 Boston 26 JUN
2010 27:41 Cape Elizabeth, ME 07 AUG
Half Marathon Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2013 1:01:00 New Orleans, LA 24 FEB
2010 1:00:25 Philadelphia, PA 19 SEP
30 Kilometres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 1:29:47 New York City, NY 06 NOV
Marathon Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2011 2:08:00 New York City, NY 06 NOV
2010 2:08:14 New York City, NY 07 NOV
Progression - Indoor showShow All Graphs
3000 Metres Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2007 7:57.27 Boston (Roxbury), MA 27 JAN
Two Miles Show Graphshow
Performance Place Date
2006 8:34.82 Boston (Roxbury), MA 28 JAN
Honours - 5000 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
3rd IAAF World Athletics Final 4 13:40.59 Monaco 10 SEP 2005
2nd IAAF World Athletics Final 4 13:09.03 Monaco 19 SEP 2004
28th Olympic Games 4 13:15.35 Athína (Olympic Stadium) 28 AUG 2004
1st IAAF World Athletics Final 3 13:24.13 Monaco 14 SEP 2003
9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6 12:58.08 Paris Saint-Denis (Stade de France) 31 AUG 2003
IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships 3 13:29.13 Kingston, JAM 16 JUL 2002
Honours - 10,000 Metres
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXX Olympic Games 8 27:36.34 London (OP) 04 AUG 2012
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 10 27:44.04 Berlin 17 AUG 2009
11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 6 27:44.58 Osaka (Nagai Stadium) 27 AUG 2007
10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 15 27:53.19 Helsinki 08 AUG 2005
IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships 1 29:02.71 Kingston, JAM 20 JUL 2002
Honours - Marathon
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics f DNF Daegu 04 SEP 2011
Honours - Senior Race
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
38th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 10 33:35 Bydgoszcz 28 MAR 2010
37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 1 35:02 Amman 28 MAR 2009
36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 17 35:59 Edinburgh (Holyrood Park) 30 MAR 2008
Honours - Junior Race
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
30th IAAF/Sport Ireland World Cross Country Championships 1 23:18 Dublin 24 MAR 2002
Honours - Short Race
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
34th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 30 11:22 Fukuoka 01 APR 2006
33rd IAAF World Cross Country Championships 9 11:54 Saint-Galmier 19 MAR 2005
32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships 2 11:36 Bruxelles 20 MAR 2004
Honours - Long Race
Rank Mark Wind Place Date
34th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 13 36:24 Fukuoka 02 APR 2006
33rd IAAF World Cross Country Championships 0f DNF Saint-Galmier 20 MAR 2005
32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships 2 36:10 Bruxelles 21 MAR 2004
31st IAAF World Cross Country Championships 3 36:17 Lausanne 30 MAR 2003


Focus on Athletes biographies are produced by the IAAF Communications Dept, and not by the IAAF Statistics and Documentation Division. If you have any enquiries concerning the information, please use the Contact IAAF page, selecting ‘Focus on Athletes Biographies’ in the drop down menu of contact area options.


Updated 26 March 2009

GEBREEGZIABHER Gebremariam, Ethiopia (5000/10,000 m, cross country)

a.k.a. Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam
Born: 10 September 1984, Tsenkanet, Hawzen (near Adigrat), Tigray region, Ethiopia
Lives in Addis Ababa. Married to 2003 World Cross Country Champion Werknesh Kidane. Has two sons, Nathaniel and Muse.
Manager: Mark Wetmore
Club:  Banks
Coaches: Kassu Alemayehu (club) and Dr. Woldemeskel Kostre (national)
Third of six children. Parents are farmers.

Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam (whose names mean "Servant of God" and "Servant of Mary") began running in school at the urging of his older brother Gebrselassie ("Servant of the Trinity"), who had done some running himself in the Ethiopian Air Force.

In 2001, Gebre-egziabher won schools competitions at 5000, 10,000 and Half-marathon and progressed through regional races, eventually representing Tigray at the Ethiopian nationals, placing seventh in the 10,000 (31:04.61 at altitude) and fourth in the 5,000 (14:13.74). That gained him entry into the Banks athletic club, whose members included 2000 Olympic 5000m champion Million Wolde and 2003 World Cross women's long course champion Werknesh Kidane.

Gebre-egziabher made his international debut that autumn in Tanzania, placing in the top five over 5000 and 10,000. Several weeks later he ran his first cross country race in Addis Ababa and won comfortably, running barefoot. He won the junior race at Ethiopia's 2002 World Cross trials, also barefoot, and took gold in the same category at the Dublin World Cross, where he started out shod but wound up barefoot after loosing a shoe mid-race and removing the other.

He wrapped up his junior career with a gold (10,000) and a bronze (5000) at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, and went on to record impressive times (7:55.40/ 13:12.14/ 27:25.61) on the European GP circuit. Back in Ethiopia, he won the second annual Great Ethiopian Run 10K in November, ahead of Kenenisa Bekele, who was coming back from injury.

With Kenenisa out sick, Gebre-egziabher won the long race at Ethiopia's 2003 World Cross trials—this time in shoes—and then placed third behind Kenenisa and Kenya's Patrick Ivuti in the long race in Lausanne. At the Ethiopian track nationals, he broke the championships record at 10,000m (28:45.4, an impressive time at Addis Ababa's 2300 meter altitude) only to lose to Sileshi Sihine. He then turned in a series of unspectacular showings in five GP meetings (best performance: 13:03.19 PB over 5000m for sixth in Paris GL) and was selected for the Ethiopian team for the Paris World Championships 5000m, where he finished a creditable sixth, notching a PB (12:58.08) in the process. He closed out his season with a bronze at 5000m in the World Athletics Final and silvers at 10,000m in the All Africa Games (27:43.12) and Afro-Asian Games (28:08.79).

2004 began with a highly successful cross country season: three victories and a second on the European circuit and a double in the Ethiopian World Cross trials—first in the long race ahead of Sileshi Sihine and second in the 4km behind Dejene Birhanu. (Kenenisa didn't run in the trials.) Then, doubling in the Brussels World Cross, he notched a pair of silvers behind Kenenisa’s two golds, as well as his first team gold as Ethiopia broke Kenya’s seemingly unbreakable streaks in both races.

In a limited pre-Olympic track season (four races), he recorded two major PBs: 12:55.59 for fourth in Rome (behind Sileshi, Dejene and winner Eliud Kipchoge), and six days later 26:53.73 for 2nd in Ostrava behind Kenenisa’s World record. He was selected for the 5000 in Athens, where he finished a respectable fourth in the final behind Kenenisa, Kipchoge and Hicham El Guerrouj, the three medallists from the Paris 5000.

Leading up to the 2005 World Cross, Gebre-egziabher’s form remained consistent. In November, he helped the Ethiopian team to another victory in Japan’s Chiba Ekiden road relay. The next month he recorded a couple of strong wins on the Spanish cross country circuit, and in January he finished a close third behind Kipchoge and Dejene in the Edinburgh International cross country. He cruised to a pair of second places in the short and long races at the Ethiopian World Cross trials, reminiscent of his double silver in Brussels the previous year. However, at the World Cross in St. Etienne/St. Galmier, he was ninth in the short race and the next day dropped out of the long race.

A consistently successful competitor at home, Gebre-egziabher took the national title over 10,000m ahead of Abebe Dinkessa and Sydney bronze medalist Assefa Mezgebu, before winning the New York Grand Prix 3000m in 7:39.48 and running what remains his 5,000m personal best, 12:52.80, at the Rome GL, but in the wet Helsinki World Championships 10,000m, he placed 15th. He ended his season on a better note, though, with a 4th place at the World Athletics Final and a win in Korea over 5000m.

On the personal front, in 2006, Gebre-egziabher married 2003 World Cross champion and fellow Banks club member Werknesh Kidane and the couple had their first child, a son.

Gebre-egziabher’s World Cross Country outings in the years after 2005 were unremarkable, with a 13th place in the long race at Fukuoka 2006 his best showing, but it came a day after a 30th place in the final edition of the short race.

His 2006 track season was also uneventful but 2007 was a clear improvement. He was fourth in a personal best 26:52.33 in the 2007 Hengelo 10,000m that saw Haile return to the event, finishing behind Gebre-egziabher in 26:52.81.  Gebre-egziabher earned his second All Africa Games medal in Algiers that July, taking bronze behind Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese and Ethiopian cross country champion Tadesse Tola. At the Osaka World Championships, four years after his first track Worlds, Gebremariam landed the same rank of sixth while his teammates, the two-time former champion Kenenisa and Hengelo winner Sileshi took gold and silver.

Back at home, Gebremariam was third in the 2008 cross country nationals, although he only managed 17th at the Edinburgh Worlds. He ran 27:20.65 in Hengelo in 2008, this time for seventh place and behind Haile, whose runner-up finish in 26:51.20 gave him the third Olympic berth after Athens champion Kenenisa and Hengelo’s repeat winner Sileshi. But Gebremariam once again delighted Addis Ababa fans with a dominating performance at the African Championships held at the National Stadium, where he led Ibrahim Jeylan and Eshetu Wondimu in an Ethiopian sweep of the 10,000m medals on the opening day of the meet.

In his initial foray into longer events, Gebre-egziabher took second behind his compatriot, the Paris marathon champion and Olympic bronze-medalist Tsegaye Kebede, at the October Great North Run half-marathon in England in 61:29.

A proven fierce competitor at home, Gebre-egziabher showed that his national cross country results can be duplicated abroad when he snatched victory from Tariku Bekele in Alcobendas, Spain on 7 December. That further indicated that Gebre-egziabher, now a seasoned veteran on the track -- and the father of two sons off the track – is experiencing something of a comeback season. He continued to impress at Addis Ababa’s altitude, unleashing a kick at the end of the 2008 national trials in Addis Ababa on 22 February that took him well past several competitors and on to his third national victory ahead of newcomer Feyissa Lelisa, Tadesse and Tariku.

In the absence of the six-time former World 12K Champion Kenenisa Bekele, Gebre-egziabher will be one of several Ethiopians hoping to bring the crown back to Ethiopia from Amman, but whether he can again translate his successes on home turf to the international arena, this time on the global stage, remains to be seen.

Personal Bests

5000m: 12:52.80 (2005)
5000m: 26:52.33 (2007)

Yearly Progression
5000/10,000: 2001 - 14:13.74/30:02; 2002 - 13:12.14 /27:25.61;  2003 - 12:58.08/27:43.12;  2004 - 12:55.59/26:53.73; 2005 – 12:52.80 (PB)/27:11.57; 2006 – 13:30.95/27:03.95; 2007 – 13:10.29/26:52.33 (PB); 2008 – 13:36.67/27:20.65; 2009 - -/-.

Career Highlights
2002    1st    World Cross Country Championships, junior
2002    1st    World Junior Championships, 10,000m   
2002    3rd    World Junior Championships, 5,000m
2003    3rd    World Cross Country Championships, 12K
2003    6th    World Championships, 5000m
2003    3rd    World Athletics Final, 5000m
2003    2nd      All Africa Games, 10,000m
2003    2nd      Afro-Asian Games, 10,000m
2004    2nd    World Cross Country Championships, 4K
2004    2nd    World Cross Country Championships, 12K
2004    4th    Olympic Games, 5000m
2004    4th    World Athletics Final, 5000m
2005    9th    World Cross Country Championships, 4K
2005    4th    World Athletics Final, 5000m
2007    3rd    All-Africa Games, 10,000m
2007    6th    World Championships, 10,000m
2008    1st    African Championships, 10,000m

A note on Ethiopian names: Ethiopians are customarily referred to by first name or first and second name together, the second name being the father's first name.

Prepared by Sabrina Yohannes, John Manners and Elshadai Negash and for the IAAF "Focus on Athletes" project. Copyright IAAF 2003-2009.