Geofrey Kusuro

Athlete Profile

    Uganda Uganda
    12 FEB 1989
Ugandan distance runner Geofrey Kusuro (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
3000 Metres 7:41.36 Strasbourg 12 JUN 2011
5000 Metres 13:12.32 Barcelona 22 JUL 2011
10 Kilometres 28:06 Ostia Lido 01 MAR 2015
15 Kilometres 42:11 Ostia Lido 01 MAR 2015
20 Kilometres 57:24 København 29 MAR 2014
Half Marathon 59:43 Ostia Lido 01 MAR 2015

Progression - Outdoor

3000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2011 7:41.36 Strasbourg 12 JUN
2008 7:58.58 Torino 06 JUN
2007 7:54.08 Bochum 12 AUG
2006 8:15.9 Djibouti 17 APR

5000 Metres

Performance Place Date
2013 13:33.57 Kampala 20 JUL
2012 13:59.74 London (Olympic Stadium) 08 AUG
2011 13:12.32 Barcelona 22 JUL
2009 13:28.48 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 20 AUG
2008 13:18.38 Hengelo (Blankers-Koen Stadion) 24 MAY
2007 13:42.0 Kampala 31 MAY
2006 13:49.1 Bugembe 29 JUL

10 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2015 28:06 Ostia Lido 01 MAR
2014 28:13 Praha 06 SEP
2007 28:18 Marseille 01 MAY

15 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2015 42:11 Ostia Lido 01 MAR
2014 42:46 København 29 MAR

20 Kilometres

Performance Place Date
2014 57:24 København 29 MAR

Half Marathon

Performance Place Date
2015 59:43 Ostia Lido 01 MAR
2014 1:00:41 København 29 MAR
2013 1:02:46 Nairobi 07 JUL

Honours - 5000 Metres

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
The XXX Olympic Games 18h1 13:59.74 London (Olympic Stadium) 08 AUG 2012
13th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 13h2 13:54.58 Daegu (DS) 01 SEP 2011
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 12h1 13:28.48 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 20 AUG 2009
The XXIX Olympic Games 11h1 13:50.50 Beijing (National Stadium) 20 AUG 2008
12th IAAF World Junior Championships 4 13:31.80 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 13 JUL 2008
11th IAAF World Junior Championships 9 14:12.69 Beijing (Chaoyang Sport Center) 20 AUG 2006

Honours - Half Marathon

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF/AL-Bank World Half Marathon Championships 2014 11 1:00:41 København 29 MAR 2014

Honours - Senior Race

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF World Cross Country Championships 2015 32 37:20 Guiyang (Qingzhen) 28 MAR 2015
40th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 2013 25 34:09 Bydgoszcz (Myslecinek Park) 24 MAR 2013
39th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 13 35:06 Punta Umbría 20 MAR 2011
38th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 15 33:54 Bydgoszcz (Myslecinek Park) 28 MAR 2010
37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 19 36:07 Amman (Golf Club Al Bisharat) 28 MAR 2009

Honours - Junior Race

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 8 22:56 Edinburgh (Holyrood Park) 30 MAR 2008
35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 10 24:48 Mombasa 24 MAR 2007
34th IAAF World Cross Country Championships 14 24:30 Fukuoka 02 APR 2006
33rd IAAF World Cross Country Championships 49 26:24 Saint-Galmier 20 MAR 2005

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Updated 29 July 2011

Geofrey KUSURO, Uganda (3000m, 5000m, Cross Country)

Born: 12 February 1989, Bukwo

Height: 1.68m Weight 51kg

Only a few years ago, Geofrey Kusuro was like any other ordinary runner in Uganda. But following his gold medal at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships, the 22-year-old athlete needs no introduction anymore. He has joined an elite class of athletes that command celebrity status in the country.

The third born of nine (six girls, three boys), Kusuro is thankful to God for having given him the running talent. “I like running more than anything else,” he said.

Kusuro went to Mutushet Primary School but never had any interest in running until 2002 when he was in form five. “Our area is very mountainous,” he said. “You can’t walk 100m without meeting a hill. I think that is what helped me while growing up. Every time I woke up late for school, I had to go running non-stop.”

It took Kusuro quite some time to make a breakthrough but, when it finally came, there was no looking back. “I always wanted to compete on the national level but got no chance – maybe because I was too tiny,” he noted. In 2005, Kusuro made his debut at the National Cross Country Championships and put up a display that surprised many. “I finished fourth and couldn’t stop celebrating,” revealed Kusuro. He was named in Uganda’s junior team for the World Cross Country Championships in St. Etienne/St. Galmier, France, where he finished 49th. “I had never finished in such a position and that’s when I realised that international competitions are not easy,” he noted.

Kusuro transformed his cross country form to the track and came close to winning a national championship gold medal but was beaten into second place by Moses Aliwa in the 5000m at Uganda’s biggest stadium, Namboole. “I ran 14:02 in that race but I should have done better,” he said. “I never felt tired at the end.” At the 2006 National Cross Country Championships, Kusuro was beaten into second place by the in-form Benjamin Kiplagat. But Kusuro was certainly on the rise.

When Kusuro went to the 2006 World Cross in Fukuoka, Japan, he hit his target of breaking into the top 20 by finishing 14th. A few months later, Kusuro realised his dream of becoming national champion when he clocked 13:49.1 to win the 5000m at Bugembe stadium. He later finished ninth at the World Junior Championships, in Beijing.

With his confidence skyrocketing, Kusuro defeated defending champion Kiplagat to take the junior title at the 2007 National Cross held in Sironko, eastern Uganda. He had hoped to win a medal at the World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa but the baking heat put paid to his ambitions, and Kusuro placed 10th. After running in a couple of road races in Italy and France, Kusuro was aiming to compete at the World Championships in Osaka, Japan, but failed to make the grade.

“I didn’t get enough track races to help me qualify,” Kusuro said. “I was in good shape and nothing should have stopped me. I got so disappointed.” Kusuro then turned his guns to mountain running, winning the World Mountain Running Trophy 8km junior gold medal, in Ovronnaz, Switzerland, in September. “Mountain running is a very interesting event,” Kusuro said. “At first I had two thoughts about it but I decided to take on the challenge.”

2008 was a fairly good year for the then 19-year-old. First, he once again overpowered Kiplagat to win the National Cross Country title and finished eighth at the World Cross in Edinburgh. At the FBK Games, in Hengelo in May, Kusuro finished sixth in a personal best 13:18.38 over 5000m to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Before heading to the Olympics, Kusuro narrowly missed out on a medal at the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, in July, finishing fourth (13:31.80). Although he failed to make the final in Beijing, being at the Olympics left a lasting impression. “Competing at the Olympics is one of the best things that has happened in my life,” Kusuro said. He was 11th (13:50.50) in his heat. At the end of November, Kusuro won silver in the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race, in Nigeria, to cap an impressive year.

After turning senior, Kusuro was looking to upset Moses Kipsiro at the 2009 National Cross Country Championships held on 14 February, in Kapchorwa. Chasing Kipsiro in the 12km race proved futile and he finished half a minute down in second place. “It was a good race against a very tough opponent,” Kusuro said of Kipsiro.

Kusuro had hoped to register a top ten finish on his senior debut at the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan but could only cross the line in 19th position (36:07). Still, he felt that performance in Jordan was fair enough for an athlete of his age. “At first I felt bad but later after realising that I had beaten the rest of my senior teammates besides Kipsiro, I became happy,” he said after returning from Jordan.

Kusuro qualified for the World Athletics Championships held in August in Berlin, Germany but couldn’t make the final after coming 12th in his 5,000m heat. He, however, recorded a Season Best (SB) time of 12:28.48.

Barely two weeks after leaving Berlin, Kusuro made history by becoming the first Ugandan to win gold (54:51, almost a minute ahead of the runner-up) at the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy. In November, he captured a second consecutive silver at the Obudu Ranch Mountain Race in Nigeria, which counted as the first African Mountain Running Championships.

Those two achievements raised Kusuro’s star and earned him a nomination for the Athlete of the Year award. Kusuro eventually finished second to Kipsiro at the annual local athletics federation awards gala, but still considers 2009 his best season yet.

Kusuro started last year by settling for second place (32:53) behind Kipsiro at the National Cross Country Championships held 6 February in Amuria.

He had a target of breaking into the top ten at the World Cross Country Championships in Poland but fell short, finishing 16th in 33:54. However, Bydgoszcz did mark success for the family.

Geofrey has inspired his sister, Viola Chemos, to put more effort into athletics so that she can also make it to the top. Chemos had won a junior silver medal at the 2009 National Cross Country Championships, but the Ugandan federation did not enter any female athletes for the world event in Amman. She grabbed bronze in 2010, and was on Uganda’s junior team for the World Cross in Poland. “It’s great to travel with my sister on a similar assignment. I hope we both do well,” Kusuro noted before the event.

Chemos placed 25th in the junior race, helping the team earn a historic first medal for Ugandan women (senior or junior), matching the Bydgoszcz placings of the junior men and Moses Kipsiro.

In April, Kusuro finished fourth at the 10km Giro Media Blenio road race, held in Dongio, Switzerland, clocking 29:28 and a month later was ninth at the Bangalore Sunfeast 10km race in 28:52. He kept his head high, hoping to make amends at the African Senior Championships (July 28- August 1) in Nairobi, but placed a distant 12th in the 5000m final (14:03.82).

In September, he failed to defend his World Mountain Running Championships gold medal, settling for bronze (56:57) in Slovenia. More disappointment was yet to come for Kusuro in the year, as he fell sick days to the start of the Commonwealth Games, forcing him to withdraw from Team Uganda. In November, he also failed to defend his silver at Obudu Ranch African Mountain Running Championships, coming home fifth (43:44).  

Kusuro recovered in time to compete at this year’s National Cross Country Championships where he finished third (37:20) behind Kipsiro and Stephen Kiprotich. His display reaffirmed his place on the national team, but Kusuro never performed to his expectations at the World Cross Country Championships in Spain (20 March). He wanted to break into the top 10 but could only finish 13th (35:06). “I could have done better but I didn’t believe in myself. I will work harder. I believe things will get better this year,” Kusuro said.

Victory over 5000m (13:55.27) at the Eastern Africa Grand Prix in Khartoum (24 May) did help Kusuro regain some confidence.

The following month, he clocked a Personal Best (PB) of 13:14.2 to finish fifth in a 5000m race at the Montreuil-sous-Bois International Meeting in France (7 June). The performance was good enough for him to qualify for the World Championships due 27 August – 4 September in Daegu, South Korea.  Five days later, he again finished fifth and achieved a new 3000m PB of 7:41.36 in Strasbourg, France.

On 22 July, he further lowered his 5000m PB, bringing it to 13:12.32 in finishing sixth in Barcelona in a race won by triple World Half Marathon champions Zersenay Tadese.

Kusuro will now travel to Daegu with a target of reaching the finals, having been eliminated at the semis in Berlin 2009. “I will be very disappointed if I fail to make the finals,” he said.

Kusuro’s parents, Anthony Muneria and Lydia Kiiza, are peasants, living off subsistence farming, but the runner hopes to make their lives better. “Our family is big but I always give them the little that I have because they are my source of happiness,” he said.

Personal Bests

3000m: 7:41.36 (2011)

5000m: 13:12.32 (2011)

10km: 28:18 (2007)

Yearly Progression

3000m: 2006 – 8:15.9; 2007 - 7:54.08, 2008 – 7:58.58, 2011 – 7:41.36

5000m: 2005 – 14:02; 2006 – 13:49.1; 2007 – 13:42.0; 2008 – 13:18.38; 2009 – 13:28.48; 2010 – 13:40.82, 2011 – 13:12.32

Career Highlights

2005  49th  World Cross Country Championships (junior)

2006  14th  World Cross Country Championships (junior)

2006  9th  World Junior Championships (5000m)

2007  10th  World Cross Country Championships (junior)

2007  1st       World Mountain Running Trophy (junior)

2008  8th  World Cross Country Championships (junior)

2008  4th  World Junior Championships (5000m)

2008  11th     Olympic Games (5000m)

2008  2nd  Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race

2009  19th  World Cross Country Championships

2009  12th     World Athletics Championships

2009  1st  World Mountain Running Championships

2009  2nd  Obudu Ranch African Mountain Running Championships

2010  16th  World Cross Country Championships

2010  12th  African Championships (5000m)

2010  5th  Obudu Ranch African Mountain Running Championships

2010  3rd   World Mountain Running Championships

2011  13th   World Cross Country Championships

Prepared by Sande Bashaija for the IAAF ‘Focus on Athletes’ project. Copyright IAAF 2009-2011

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