Gelete BURKA

Athlete Profile

  • COUNTRY
    Ethiopia Ethiopia
  • DATE OF BIRTH
    23 JAN 1986
    ATHLETE'S IAAF CODE
    194277
Gelete Burka after the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
800 Metres 2:02.89 Hengelo (NED) 30 MAY 2010
1500 Metres 3:58.79 Hengelo (NED) 01 JUN 2009
One Mile 4:18.23 Rieti (ITA) 07 SEP 2008
2000 Metres 5:30.19 Bruxelles (BEL) 04 SEP 2009
3000 Metres 8:25.92 Stockholm (SWE) 25 JUL 2006
5000 Metres 14:31.20 Ostrava (CZE) 27 JUN 2007
10,000 Metres 30:26.66 Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 12 AUG 2016
5 Kilometres 14:57 Boston, MA (USA) 18 APR 2015
10 Kilometres 32:01 New York, NY (USA) 10 MAY 2014
10 Kilometres 30:53 * Madrid (ESP) 31 DEC 2012
15 Kilometres 49:26 Nijmegen (NED) 18 NOV 2012
Half Marathon 1:06:11 Valencia (ESP) 28 OCT 2018
Marathon 2:20:45 Dubai (UAE) 26 JAN 2018

Legend

* Not legal.

Indoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
1500 Metres 3:59.75 Valencia (ESP) 09 MAR 2008
One Mile 4:23.53 Birmingham (GBR) 20 FEB 2010
3000 Metres 8:31.94 Birmingham (GBR) 16 FEB 2008

Legend

* Not legal.

Outdoor

Discipline Performance Wind Place Date Records
Half Marathon 1:06:11 Valencia (ESP) 28 OCT 2018
Marathon 2:20:45 Dubai (UAE) 26 JAN 2018

Outdoor

800 Metres

Performance Place Date
2011 2:06.56 Addis Abeba (ETH) 05 MAY 2011
2010 2:02.89 Hengelo (NED) 30 MAY 2010
2004 2:08.03 Dessau (GER) 04 JUN 2004
2003 2:07.05 Namur (BEL) 26 JUL 2003

Outdoor

1500 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 4:04.36 Monaco (MON) 19 JUL 2013
2011 4:03.28 Roma (ITA) 26 MAY 2011
2010 3:59.28 Lausanne (SUI) 08 JUL 2010
2009 3:58.79 Hengelo (NED) 01 JUN 2009
2008 4:00.44 Eugene, OR (USA) 08 JUN 2008
2007 4:00.48 Eugene, OR (USA) 10 JUN 2007
2006 4:02.68 Eugene, OR (USA) 28 MAY 2006
2005 3:59.60 Rieti (ITA) 28 AUG 2005
2004 4:06.10 Hengelo (NED) 31 MAY 2004
2003 4:10.82 Cuxhaven (GER) 19 JUL 2003

Outdoor

One Mile

Performance Place Date
2008 4:18.23 Rieti (ITA) 07 SEP 2008
2003 4:30.81 Heusden-Zolder (BEL) 02 AUG 2003

Outdoor

2000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2009 5:30.19 Bruxelles (BEL) 04 SEP 2009

Outdoor

3000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2017 8:43.68 Madrid (ESP) 14 JUL 2017
2016 8:28.49 Doha (QAT) 06 MAY 2016
2012 8:45.09 Lausanne (SUI) 23 AUG 2012
2006 8:25.92 Stockholm (SWE) 25 JUL 2006
2005 8:39.90 Doha (QAT) 13 MAY 2005
2003 8:48.93 Paris (FRA) 04 JUL 2003

Outdoor

5000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2017 15:06.01 Eugene, OR (USA) 26 MAY 2017
2016 14:59.78 Roma (ITA) 02 JUN 2016
2015 14:40.50 Paris (FRA) 04 JUL 2015
2013 14:42.07 Paris (FRA) 06 JUL 2013
2012 14:41.43 Roma (ITA) 31 MAY 2012
2008 14:45.84 Hengelo (NED) 24 MAY 2008
2007 14:31.20 Ostrava (CZE) 27 JUN 2007
2006 14:40.92 Oslo (NOR) 02 JUN 2006
2005 14:51.47 Roma (ITA) 08 JUL 2005
2003 16:23.76 Addis Abeba (ETH) 26 APR 2003

Outdoor

5 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2016 15:49 Bolzano (ITA) 31 DEC 2016
2015 14:57 Boston, MA (USA) 18 APR 2015
2013 15:26 Carlsbad, CA (USA) 07 APR 2013

Outdoor

10,000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2017 30:40.87 Hengelo (NED) 10 JUN 2017
2016 30:26.66 Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 12 AUG 2016
2015 30:49.68 Hengelo (NED) 17 JUN 2015

Outdoor

10 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2017 32:01 San Juan (PUR) 26 FEB 2017
2014 32:01 New York, NY (USA) 10 MAY 2014

Outdoor

15 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2012 49:26 Nijmegen (NED) 18 NOV 2012

Outdoor

Half Marathon

Performance Place Date
2018 1:06:11 Valencia (ESP) 28 OCT 2018
2017 1:08:18 Valencia (ESP) 22 OCT 2017
2016 1:09:32 New Delhi (IND) 20 NOV 2016
2014 1:15:38 Bogotá (COL) 27 JUL 2014

Outdoor

Marathon

Performance Place Date
2018 2:20:45 Dubai (UAE) 26 JAN 2018
2014 2:26:03 Houston, TX (USA) 19 JAN 2014
2013 2:30:40 Frankfurt (GER) 27 OCT 2013

Indoor

1500 Metres

Performance Place Date
2011/12 4:16.58 Liévin (FRA) 14 FEB 2012
2009/10 4:03.44 Stuttgart (GER) 06 FEB 2010
2007/08 3:59.75 Valencia (ESP) 09 MAR 2008

Indoor

One Mile

Performance Place Date
2009/10 4:23.53 Birmingham (GBR) 20 FEB 2010

Indoor

3000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2015/16 8:33.76 Sabadell (ESP) 19 FEB 2016
2011/12 8:36.59 Birmingham (GBR) 18 FEB 2012
2007/08 8:31.94 Birmingham (GBR) 16 FEB 2008

Honours - Olympic Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
5. 5000 Metres 15:10.66 London (GBR) 10 AUG 2012
8. 10,000 Metres 30:26.66 Rio de Janeiro (BRA) 12 AUG 2016

Honours - World Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 10,000 Metres 31:41.77 Beijing (CHN) 24 AUG 2015
8. 1500 Metres 4:04.77 Helsinki (FIN) 14 AUG 2005

Honours - World Indoor Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 1500 Metres 3:59.75 Valencia (ESP) 09 MAR 2008
3. 3000 Metres 8:40.18 Istanbul (TUR) 11 MAR 2012
3. 1500 Metres 4:08.39 Doha (QAT) 14 MAR 2010

Honours - World Cross Country Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. Short Race 12:51 Fukuoka (JPN) 02 APR 2006
4. Senior Race 26:55 Mombasa (KEN) 24 MAR 2007
6. Senior Race 25:35 Edinburgh (GBR) 30 MAR 2008
8. Senior Race 26:58 Amman (JOR) 28 MAR 2009

Honours - World (Continental) Cup

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
6. 1500 Metres 4:23.76 Split (CRO) 05 SEP 2010

Honours - African Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 1500 Metres 4:08.25 Addis Abeba (ETH) 02 MAY 2008
2. 1500 Metres 4:11.12 Nairobi (KEN) 30 JUL 2010

Honours - All-African Games

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 1500 Metres 4:06.89 Algiers (ALG) 22 JUL 2007
3. 10,000 Metres 31:38.33 Brazzaville (CGO) 16 SEP 2015

Honours - Diamond League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 1500 Metres 4:04.63 Eugene, OR (USA) 04 JUN 2011
1. 1500 Metres 3:59.28 Lausanne (SUI) 08 JUL 2010

Honours - World Athletics Final

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
2. 1500 Metres 4:07.45 Stuttgart (GER) 13 SEP 2008
2. 3000 Metres 8:48.65 Monaco (MON) 10 SEP 2005
6. 1500 Metres 4:14.51 Thessaloniki (GRE) 12 SEP 2009
6. 3000 Metres 8:41.22 Stuttgart (GER) 10 SEP 2006

Honours - Golden League

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 2000 Metres 5:30.19 Bruxelles (BEL) 04 SEP 2009
1. 1500 Metres 4:00.68 Paris (FRA) 06 JUL 2007

Honours - National Championships

Place Discipline Mark Wind Place Date
1. 800 Metres 2:06.56 Addis Abeba (ETH) 05 MAY 2011
1. 1500 Metres 4:11.23 Addis Abeba (ETH) 03 MAY 2009
1. 1500 Metres 4:10.9h Addis Abeba (ETH) 06 MAY 2007
1. 5000 Metres 15:39.2h Addis Abeba (ETH) 07 MAY 2005
1. 1500 Metres 4:10.1h Addis Abeba (ETH) 03 MAY 2005
1. 1500 Metres 4:12.1h Addis Abeba (ETH) 07 MAY 2004
Results in:

Half Marathon

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
28 OCT 2018 Valencia Half Marathon ESPESP A F 1. 1:06:11

Marathon

Date Competition Cnt. Cat Race Pl. Result
26 JAN 2018 Dubai Standard Chartered Marathon UAEUAE GL F 6. 2:20:45
27 MAY 2018 Ottawa Marathon CANCAN GL F 1. 2:22:17


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Updated 26 March 2009

GELETE Burka, Ethiopia (1500m/3000m/5000m/cross country)
a.k.a. Gelete Burka Bati
Born: 15 February 1986, Kofele, Arsi, Ethiopia
Lives in Addis Ababa
Manager: Jos Hermens   Coach: Tolossa Kotu
Club:  Corrections Police

Gelete Burka (whose second name is sometimes misspelled ‘Burika’) played soccer before beginning running in school in her native Kofele. Beginning in late 2001, she blazed her way through a series of local and regional victories. She won the 3000m and 5000m in a Kofele schools competition and represented Kofele in the Arsi zone competition, where she again took two titles, this time over 1500m and 3000m.

Representing Arsi in the Oromia region competition, she won the 3000m, and won again representing Oromia in an inter-region competition in Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia. “I fell in love with running then,” said Gelete, whose first name means “praise” in her mother tongue of Oromifa.

Going into the 2002-2003 cross country season, she began training with the Arsi team coach and again proved unstoppable, winning the junior race to represent Arsi in the Oromia competition, and then to represent Oromia in Addis Ababa. In her first race at a top national level, she placed 4th to book passage to the World Cross Country Championships, in Lausanne.

Gelete first drew international attention with her bronze medal performance in Lausanne. She then virtually disappeared from the international circuit until mid-2004 when she won the 800m at the Ethiopian Championships, beating, among others, World Indoor 1500m champion Kutre Dulecha and 2004 World Cross Country junior bronze medallist Mestawot Tadesse. She missed qualifying for the 1500m at the Athens Olympics by just 0.2 seconds.

A few 2004 Grand Prix races sharpened her tactical skills for the 2004-2005 cross country season, in which she fared well, winning the Brussels Cross Country International, beating compatriots Meselech Melkamu and Merima Denboba. She then put on an impressive display of front-running to win the junior race at the Ethiopian World Cross Country trials. At the World Championships, in Saint-Etienne/Saint Galmier, France, facing down a strong Kenyan challenge without much support from her teammates, Gelete won by a 27-second margin to bring Ethiopia its third straight junior women’s title, following those of Tirunesh Dibaba (2003) and Meselech Melkamu (2004).

On the track back in Ethiopia, Gelete shook the senior ranks, beating Olympic 5000m champion Meseret Defar over 3000m at the Addis Ababa municipal championships, and a week later completing a spectacular triple gold medal performance at the nationals. She defended her 1500m title; charged past World indoor record-holder Tirunesh and 2003 World 10,000m silver medallist Werknesh Kidane in the bell lap of the 5000m, winning in 15:39.2 to better Gete Wami’s 15:44.63 stadium record; and then anchored her Corrections Police club’s 4x400 relay team to victory.

Less than a week later, Gelete ran an 8:39.90 national junior record for 3000m in Doha, finishing third behind Meseret and Berhane Adere. She later ran a personal best 14:51.47 for 5000m in Rome. In the 1500m at the World Championships, in Helsinki, Gelete was boxed in late in the Final and finished 8th in 4:04.77. In a fast 1500m in Rieti on 28 August, however, she ran a new personal best of 3:59.60, and in the World Athletics Final 3000, she placed 2nd. behind Meseret.

In the 2005-2006 cross country season Gelete beat Tirunesh and Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi in Edinburgh before comfortably winning the 4K at the National Cross Country Championships in Addis Ababa ahead of national 8K champion Meselech, in the absence of Tirunesh. At the World Cross Country Championships, in Fukuoka, Japan, the double defending World champion Tirunesh, having been ill a week prior, dropped out of the 4K, where Gelete overcame ferocious winds and a challenge from Kenya’s Priscah Jepleting to win her first senior title.

At Golden League 5000m races on the track, Gelete ran a 14:40.92 personal best for 5000m in Stockholm, and finished 3rd in Paris and Rome, before clocking an 8:25.92 personal best for 3000m in Stockholm. She was 6th at the World Athletics Final 3000m.

In the 2006-2007 cross country season, Gelete joined Kenenisa Bekele in a dominant Ethiopian sweep of the titles in Edinburgh (6.7K) and Sevilla (6.6K), beating Kenya’s Vivian Cheriuyot by nine seconds in Edinburgh, where Meselech was fourth. Gelete suffered an ankle injury during training and missed qualifying for the Ethiopian team for the World Cross Country Championships, but was included in the team upon her recovery based on her past year and cross country prowess. In the heat and humidity of Mombasa, Gelete placed just outside of the medals behind Lornah Kilpagat and Ethiopia’s Tirunesh and Meselech.

On the track in May, Gelete won the national championships 1500m, before running a then-personal best 14:38.18 for 5000m to win in Hengelo. She followed that up with a 1500m win in Eugene, Oregon, and gave World record holder Meseret Defar a run for her money in Ostrava over 5000m, where Gelete placed second in a new personal best 14:31.20 behind Defar’s 14:30.18 and ahead of Meselech. Gelete ran away with the gold in the All Africa Games 1500m in Algiers in July, and looked set to be part of a repeat Ethiopian sweep of the World Championships 5000m in Osaka.

In Osaka, the defending champion Tirunesh pulled out due to stomach pains, and Meseret, Meselech and Gelete sailed through the first round in spite of warm, muggy conditions, but with the Kenyan team led by Vivian Cheruiyot making for fierce opposition in a slow final, only Meseret medalled, while Meselech finished 6th and Gelete a disappointing 10th, after which she wrapped up her season.

Gelete won the Edinburgh cross country ahead of Kenyans Linet Masai and Cheruiyot in January 2008, but after she burst onto the indoor scene with an 8:31.94 win over 3000m in Birmingham on 16 February, she set her sights on the World Indoor Championships, in Valencia. But with the only two 2008 times faster than hers having been run by compatriots Meseret and Meselech, Gelete’s chance to make the Valencia team was in the 1500, in which she clocked a 4:04.37 2nd place in Stockholm on 21 February behind World outdoor champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal’s 4:04.30, which placed Gelete 6th on the 2008 world list.

In Valencia, running against Jamal and Russia’s Yelena Soboleva in the toughest of three heats, Gelete qualified automatically for the Final, despite some shoving, and showed she was a strong contender for a medal, when she then outsprinted her former countrywoman, the Ethiopian-born Jamal, in an African record 3:59.75 for the bronze.

At the 2008 Edinburgh World Cross Country Championships, Gelete had the advantage of having won the cross country meet on the same course there repeatedly, including that January, but she was reeled in by former champion Tirunesh and finished 6th.

Gelete suffered a worse fate at the track global championship of the year, the Beijing Olympics, where she failed to make the 1500 final, but she fared much better elsewhere, winning at the African Championships at home in Addis Ababa, where she led Meskerem Assefa to a silver, and at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene in 4:00.44. She also won over 5000m in Hengelo (14:45.84) over Meselech as well as Linet Masai of Kenya, and over one mile in an African record 4:18.23 over World 1500m champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal in Rieti in September before taking 2nd at the World Athletics Final 1500m, again behind Jamal.

Gelete did not compete indoors in 2009, but looked ready to win the national cross country trials on 22 February when she was overtaken by first Meselech and then the eventual winner and African 10,000m bronze-medalist Wude Ayalew, and took 3rd  All three women will be vying to fill the absent Tirunesh’s shoes in Amman.

Personal Bests
1500m:   3:59.60 (2005)
3000m:   8:25.92 (2006)
5000m: 14:31.20 (2007)

Yearly Progression
1500m/3000m/5000m: 2003 – 4:10.82/8:48.93/16:23.8a; 2004 – 4:06.10/-/-; 2005 - 3:59.60/8:39.90/14:51.47; 2006 - 4:02.68/8:25.92/14:40.92; 2007 – 4:04.48/-/14:31.20; 2008 – 4:00.44/8:31.94i/14:45.84; 2009 – -/-/-.

Career Highlights
2003    3rd     World Cross Country Championships (junior)
2005    1st    World Cross Country Championships (junior)
2005    2nd    World Athletics Final (3000m)
2006    1st    World Cross Country Championships (4k)
2007    4th    World Cross Country Championships (8k)
2007    1st    All Africa Games (1500m)
2008    3rd    World Indoor Championships (1500m)
2008    6th    World Cross Country Championships
2008    1st    African Championships (1500m)

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. (The grandfather’s first name is sometimes added as a third name, and is optional in much the same way that a Western middle name is frequently omitted.)

Prepared by Sabrina Yohannes and Elshadai Negash for the IAAF Focus on Athletes project. Copyright IAAF 2009.