Kenenisa Bekele Biography
Back to Sports
Back to Track and Field
Back to Biographies
Kenenisa Bekele is best known for being one of the greatest distance runners in history. He currently holds the world records for the 5000m and 10000m as well as the indoor 2000m, 2 mile, and 5000m. It is necessary to acknowledge that the name Kenenisa Bekele is a Habesha name, which means that Kenenisa is properly addressed by his first name only.
Where did Kenenisa grow up?
Kenenisa was born on June 13th, 1982 in Bekoji, Ethiopia. He began running in middle school after world renowned trainer Sentayehu Eshetu suggested he give it a try. Due to his success as a junior runner, he was given many amazing opportunities; he traveled outside of his home country for the first time, joined a professional level club team, and represented Ethiopia in national competitions.
What did Kenensia accomplish during the prime of his career?
From 2002 to 2006, Kenenisa was undefeated in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, winning both the 5000m and 10000m races each year. During that time, he also broke the world records for the indoor and outdoor 5000m as well as 10000m with the times 12:49.60, 12:37.35, and 26:17.53 respectfully. Shortly after, he broke the 2000m world record with a time of 4:49.99.
What hardships has Kenenisa faced?
On January 4th, 2005, Kenenisa's fiancée, Alem, died of a heart attack while they were on a run together. Her tragic death naturally hindered his racing performance. Despite still grieving her death, he managed to find a lot of success in 2005. He set the current 10000m world record and kept his IAAF World Cross Country Championships winning streak alive. Over the years his career has also been plagued with injuries which include an injured Achilles
heel and a ruptured calf.
How did Kenenisa do at the Olympics?
Kenenisa has had great success at the Olympics, but his performances have not been very consistent. His performance at the Athens 2004 Olympics was good; he was first in the 10000m but was second in the 5000m. His performance at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, however, was amazing; he completely dominated the competition, winning first place in both the 5000m and 10000m with Olympic records times. Despite this, his performance at the London 2012 Olympics was very out of character; he only placed fourth in the 10000m and did not even compete in the 5000m.
What has Kenenisa been up to recently?
Kenenisa has been training for marathons! On April 6th, 2014, he ran his first competitive marathon as a professional runner and crushed the competition with a winning time of 2:05.04. The transition of a professional runners focus on the 5000m and 10000m to the marathon is a common one, but very few have transitioned better than Kenenisa.
Fun Facts about Kenenisa
Other Sports Legend's Biographies:
- As a child, Kenenisa worked on his father's farm. Work on his father's farm included selling chicken eggs and tending to sheep.
- Kenenisa wanted to be an engineer or mathematician when he grew up.
- Kenenisa is famous for almost always having a huge kick at the end of each race. It is often the deciding factor of the race.
- Kenenisa's brother Tariku is also a professional distance runner.
- Because he was still grieving the death of his fiancée, Kenenisa once lost count of the number of laps he had ran during a race and kicked too early, causing him to lose the race.