Derartu Tulu

Derartu Tulu (Amharic: ደራርቱ ቱሉ; Afaan Oromo: Daraartuu Tulluu; born 21 March 1972) is an Ethiopian long-distance runner, who competed in track, cross country running, and road running up to the marathon distance.

Derartu Tulu
Medal record
Women's athletics
Representing  Ethiopia
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1992 Barcelona 10,000 m
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney 10,000 m
Bronze medal – third place 2004 Athens 10,000 m
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 2001 Edmonton 10,000 m
Silver medal – second place 1995 Gothenburg 10,000 m


Derartu grew up tending cattle in the village of Bekoji in the highlands of Arsi Province,[1] the same village as Kenenisa Bekele. She is the aunt of Tirunesh Dibaba and Genzebe Dibaba.

Derartu is the first Ethiopian woman and the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal, which she won in the 10,000 m event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.[2][3] The race, where she and Elana Meyer (South Africa) raced for lap after lap way ahead of the rest of the field, launched her career. She sat out 1993 and 1994 with a knee injury and returned to competition in the 1995 IAAF World Cross Country Championships where she won gold, having arrived at the race only an hour before the start. She was stuck in Athens airport without sleep for 24 hours.[4] The same year she lost out to Fernanda Ribeiro and won silver at the World Championships 10,000.

The 1996 season was a difficult year for her. At the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Derartu lost her shoe in the race and had to fight back to get fourth place. She also finished fourth at the Olympic Games, where she was nursing an injury. In 1997 she won the world cross country title for the second time, but did not factor in the 10,000 m World Championships. In 1998 she gave birth to a daughter, Tsion, but came back in 2000 in the best shape of her life.[5] She won the 10,000 m Olympic gold for the second time (the only woman to have done this in the short history of the event). She also won the IAAF World Cross Country Championships title for the third time. In 2001, she finally won her world 10,000 track title in Edmonton. This was her third world or Olympic gold medal. She has a total of 6 world and Olympic gold medals.

Her transition to the marathon was rewarded with victories in London and Tokyo Marathons in 2001. She finished fourth at the 2005 World Championships, setting her personal best time of 2:23:30. She also won the Portugal Half Marathon in 2000 and 2003, and Lisbon Half Marathon in 2003. In 2009, at the age of 37, she won the New York City Marathon, defeating of the likes of Paula Radcliffe,[6] Lyudmila Petrova and Salina Kosgei.

In 2004 Derartu declined to enter the New York Marathon, where she would have been likely to face marathon World Record holder Paula Radcliffe, whom she has had a great rivalry with over the years,[7] and focused instead on the Olympic Games, where she won the bronze medal in the 10 000 m behind Xing Huina and her cousin Ejegayehu Dibaba. (Radcliffe failed to finish.)

Derartu continued to run competitively in her late thirties, while most of her old rivals retired. Her last marathon finish came in 2011 in Yokohama.[8]

She is remembered for her speed and her 60.3 second-last lap at the end of the 10,000 m at the Sydney Olympics was a sprint of note.

She has been the president of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) since November 14, 2018.

International competitionsEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Tulu is the aunt of the Dibaba siblings – Ejegayehu, Tirunesh and Genzebe Dibaba.[3]


Tulu was named to the BBC's 100 Women programme in 2017.[9]


  1. ^ "Derartu TULU". 2017-01-13. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  2. ^ Robbins, Liz (2009-11-01). Tulu Wins as Radcliffe Struggles to Fourth. New York Times. Retrieved on 2016-07-02.
  3. ^ a b "Meet the Dibabas: The Fastest Family on the Planet". Vogue. March 31, 2016.
  4. ^ MacKay, Duncan (2000-12-30). Cold of Consett holds no fears for Ethiopia's world-beating waif. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2016-07-02.
  5. ^ 10 athletics Supermums. SPIKES Magazine (2014-01-13). Retrieved on 2016-07-02.
  6. ^ McDougall, Christopher (2010-11-04). "Born to Run the Marathon?".
  7. ^ Marint, David (2003-09-12). Athletics: Radcliffe and Tulu to renew rivalry. The Independent. Retrieved on 2016-07-02.
  8. ^ Derartu Tulu. IAAF. Retrieved on 2016-07-02.
  9. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2017: Who is on the list?". BBC News. October 20, 2017. Retrieved July 24, 2019.

External linksEdit

Olympic Games
Preceded by
Addis Abebe
Flagbearer for   Ethiopia
Atlanta 1996
Sydney 2000
Succeeded by
Abel Aferalign