Who is Zersenay Tadese?
Zersenay Tadese is an Eritrean long-distance track, and road running athlete. He currently holds the men's half marathon world record. His bronze medal in the 10,000 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics made him the first ever Eritrean Olympic medallist, and his 20 km title at the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships also made him the country's first athlete to win at a world championship event. He does not use a sprint finish to win races: his strategy relies upon a combination of efficient running and fast pace setting.
Zersenay has found most of his success over the half marathon distance, with four consecutive victories in the World Half Marathon Championships from 2006 to 2009, a fifth title in 2012, and a world record at the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2010. He has also excelled in cross country running, winning a gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the long distance race over five IAAF World Cross Country Championships. He is a three-time Olympian.
In 2009 Zersenay became only the second man to win three World Championship medals over three different surfaces in the same year: winning World Cross Country bronze, 10,000 metres World Championship silver on the track, and gold in road running at the World Half Marathon Championships. He is a popular public figure in his home country; 2500 guests attended his wedding to Merhawit Solomon, which was broadcast live on Eritrean television. His brother, Kidane Tadese, is also a professional distance runner.
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