The IAAF ratifies two world records set by Zersena Tadese

TaddesseOn Monday the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ratified the two world records set by Zersenay Tadese at the EPD Lisbon Half Marathon on March 21, 2010.

Tadese, a 28-year-old runner from Eritrea, Africa, ran a 58:23 in the Lisbon half, beating the old record set by Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru in 2007 by 10 seconds.

He also set the record in the 20k, running a 55:21.  He demolished the existing world record set by Haile Gebrselassie in 2006 by a full 27 seconds.

“I felt very good, and looking for a performance just like that,” Tadese told a reporter for the IAAF immediately following the race.

Tadese is still primarily a half marathon runner.  Coming off of his world record in Lisbon, he was a favorite at this year’s Virgin London Marathon, but ended up finishing in seventh place with a time of 2:12:03.

He also won the bronze medal in the 10,000 at the 2004 Athens Olympics, becoming the first Eritrean to win an Olympic medal.

Olympian and New York City Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi is also from Eritrea, but he was a naturalized U.S. citizen when he won silver in the men’s marathon in Athens.

As a young teen, Tadese wanted to become a professional bicyclist, and didn’t switch to competitive running until his late teens.

Tadese is a hero in Africa, and is now the first Eritrean athlete to hold a world record in distance running.

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