Open main menu

Bezunesh Bekele (full name Bezunesh Bekele Sertsu, also written Bizunesh Bekele; born 29 January 1983) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specializes in cross-country running and marathons.

Bezunesh Bekele
Bezunesh Bekele Boston 2009.jpg
Bezunesh Bekele at the 2009 Boston Marathon
Personal information
Full nameBezunesh Bekele Sertsu
Born (1983-01-29) 29 January 1983 (age 36)
Addis Ababa
Height1.45 m (4 ft 9 in)
Event(s)cross-country, half marathon, marathon



She was born in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. She took a number of circuit wins on the road in her first few years of competition, having back-to-back wins at the Montferland Run in 2004 and 2005, as well as a win at the Rotterdam Half Marathon. She won the Cross Internacional de Itálica in 2006 and finished in sixth place in the short race at the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships later that season. The following year she took prominent circuit victories at the Zevenheuvelenloop and the Portugal Half Marathon.

At the 2007 IAAF World Road Running Championships she finished fourth and set a new national half marathon record of 1:08:07. The record was beaten by Dire Tune, who won the 2009 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon setting the Ethiopian half marathon record of 1:07:18.[1] Bizunesh narrowly missed being selected for the 2008 Ethiopian Olympic team. Although Bizunesh had faster times, Dire Tune was chosen for the team instead, leading to a strained relationship between the two runners.[2] Bezunesh was third at the Great Manchester Run in 2008, finishing behind Jo Pavey and Rose Cheruiyot.[3]

She made her marathon debut with a run of 2:23:09 in the 2008 Dubai Marathon, taking second place behind Birhane Adere and running one of fastest ever times for a débutante.[4] She returned to the race the following year and won, beating Atsede Habtamu to the finish by over a minute.[5] At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics she was selected to compete in the marathon for Ethiopia and she finished in 16th place. She ran at the London Marathon in April 2010 and was fourth in a time of 2:23:17.[6] At a rainy Berlin Marathon in September that year she finished the race in 2:24:58, which was enough to take second place behind Aberu Kebede.[7]

A return to London in 2011 saw her make the best finish by an Ethiopian, coming fourth in 2:23:42 hours.[8] At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics she finished fourth again, narrowly missing out on the podium. Bezunesh improved her four-year-old personal best time with a run at the 2012 Dubai Marathon. Her time of 2:20:30 hours for fourth place moved her into the top twenty fastest woman for the event and made her the third fastest Ethiopian woman.[9][10]

She placed fourth at the Yangzhou Half Marathon in April, but had better performances in the second half of the year: she won the Great Scottish Run, set a 10-mile personal best of 51:45 minutes as the runner-up at the Dam tot Damloop,[11] and came fourth at the Frankfurt Marathon.[12]

Bezunesh's husband, Tessema Abshiro, is also a marathon runner with the Ethiopian national team.[2]


Year Competition Venue Position Notes
1999 World Cross Country Championships Belfast, Northern Ireland 35th Junior race
2000 World Cross Country Championships Vilamoura, Portugal 13th Junior race
2002 World Cross Country Championships Dublin, Republic of Ireland 6th Junior race
2003 World Cross Country Championships Lausanne, Switzerland 28th Short race
2004 World Cross Country Championships Brussels, Belgium 18th Short race
World Half Marathon Championships New Delhi, India 8th Half marathon
2005 World Cross Country Championships St Etienne, France 12th Short race
10th Long race
2006 World Cross Country Championships Fukuoka, Japan 9th Short race
African Championships Bambous, Mauritius 5th 10,000 m
2007 World Road Running Championships Udine, Italy 4th Half marathon
2009 World Championships Berlin, Germany 16th Marathon
2010 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 4th Marathon
Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 2nd Marathon
2011 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 4th Marathon
World Championships Daegu, South Korea 4th Marathon

Personal bestsEdit

Event Time Venue Date
3000 metres 8:52.08 Gateshead, United Kingdom 11 June 2006
5000 metres 15:02.48 Hengelo, Netherlands 28 May 2006
10,000 metres 31:10.68 Utrecht, Netherlands 17 June 2005
10 kilometres 31:20 Udine, Italy 14 October 2007
15 kilometres 47:36 Nijmegen, Netherlands 18 November 2007
20 kilometres 1:04:40 Udine, Italy 14 October 2007
Half marathon 1:08:07 Udine, Italy 14 October 2007
Marathon 2:20:30 Dubai, United Arab Emirates 27 January 2011


  1. ^ "Makau produces second fastest time ever, Tune clocks national record at RAK Half Marathon - updated". IAAF. 20 February 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Negash, Elshadai (15 April 2009). "Tune seeks solace in Boston return". Universal Sports. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
  3. ^ "History and Tradition". Great Run. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  4. ^ Butcher, Pat (18 January 2008). "Second fastest of all time for Gebre in Dubai Marathon". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  5. ^ Butcher, Pat (16 January 2009). "Despite heavy rains, Gebrselassie clocks 2:05:29 in Dubai". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  6. ^ Brown, Matthew (25 April 2010). "Commanding victories for Kebede and Shobukhova - London Marathon report". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  7. ^ Butcher, Pat (26 September 2010). "Makau and Kebede triumph in rainy Berlin". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  8. ^ Brown, Matthew (17 April 2011). "Mutai and Keitany dominate and dazzle in London". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  9. ^ Butcher, Pat (27 January 2012). "Abshero stuns with 2:04:23 debut, Mergia clocks 2:19:31 in Dubai". IAAF. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Marathon All Time". IAAF. 27 January 2012. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Komon defends Dam to Dam title". IAAF. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  12. ^ Butcher, Pat (28 October 2012). "Patience pays for Makau in Frankfurt, debut win for Melkamu". IAAF. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
  Lydia Cheromei
Rotterdam Women's Half Marathon Winner
Succeeded by
  Mara Yamauchi