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Diane Nukuri

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Diane Nukuri
Diane Nukuri at the 2012 Olympics "Burundi Day"
Personal information
Born (1984-12-01) 1 December 1984 (age 39)
Kigozi, Burundi
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight59 kg (130 lb)
Country Burundi
 United States
College teamButler CC
Achievements and titles
Olympic finals2000
5000 m, 45th (h)
Marathon, 31st
10,000 m, 13th
Personal bests

Diane Nukuri (born 1 December 1984, in Kigozi-Mukike) is a Burundian-American[1] professional distance runner. She competed for Burundi as a fifteen-year-old in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney in the 5,000m and in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London in the marathon. Nukuri ran for the University of Iowa in college. She was the Burundian flag bearer at the Summer Olympics in 2000 and 2012.

Early life


Nukuri began running in her early teens, starting little more than a year prior to her first Olympic experience (the 2000 Olympics in Sydney). She ran in the junior IAAF World Cross Country Championships twice, placing 18th in 2000 and 27th the following year.[2] She won the bronze medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2001 Francophone Games in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[3] After the games, Nukuri fled to Toronto, seeking asylum from the Burundi civil war. At the time, Nukuri had already lost her father to the conflict, and she knew she would have no running career had she stayed in Burundi. She was granted asylum, and lived with relatives in Pickering, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto.[citation needed]

The University of Iowa and Butler CCC


Nukuri continued to run while living in Canada and began drawing interest from cross country and distance track coaches from American universities, in particular the University of Iowa. However, Nukuri spoke very little English, so she attended Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. At Butler, Nukuri trained under Kirk Hunter while learning English (her third language), taking classes, and amassing 9 NJCAA national championships and 17 NJCAA All-American honors. After two seasons at Butler, Nukuri transferred to the University of Iowa to work with coach Layne Anderson, who recruited Diane directly out of high school. Anderson was largely responsible for Nukuri attending Butler.[citation needed]

In her time at Iowa, Nukuri won two Big Ten Championships, in cross-country (2007) and the 5,000 meters in outdoor track (2008). She was named an All-American three times and won the Wilma Rudolph student-athlete award. She left Iowa with school records in ten events.[citation needed]

In her final collegiate race (the NCAA Championships, 10,000 meters), a major side stitch forced Nukuri into an early exit with only a few laps remaining while in second place. She graduated from Iowa with a bachelor's degree in communications in the fall of 2008.[citation needed]

Professional career

Diane Nukuri-Johnson in the Marathon at the 2012 Olympics in London

She competed in her first professional race at the 2008 Shelter Island 10K. Major race performances are below.

Nukuri first competed in the Olympics at the age of 15, running the 5,000 meters at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She finished 14th in her heat but did not advance to the finals. She returned to the Olympics twelve years later, competing in the women's marathon. She finished in 31st place, setting another Burundian National Record (she owned the previous mark in the marathon) in 2:30:13,.[4] 118 runners started the race, and 107 finished. Nukuri was also the flag-bearer for Burundi, leading the country's six athletes at the opening ceremony.[5] Nukuri also carried the flag in Sydney.

She bettered her national record at the NYC Half Marathon in March 2013, narrowly finishing second to Caroline Rotich in a time of 1:09:12 hours.[6]

Nukuri is currently the Burundian record-holder in the 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, half marathon, and the marathon. She continues training under Coach Anderson.

Her story has been documented in a number of articles, including Running Times in October 2012.

Diane Nukuri represented Burundi once again at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016, running the 10,000 meters.

She became a U.S. citizen in 2017. She holds dual citizenship from both Burundi and the United States.[7] She became eligible to compete internationally for the United States in February 2020.[8]

International competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1999 All-Africa Games Johannesburg, South Africa 10th 5000 m 17:04.75
2000 World Cross Country Championships Vilamoura, Portugal 18th Junior race 21:42
Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 14th (h) 5000 m 16:38.30
2001 World Cross Country Championships Ostend, Belgium 27th Junior race 23:37
Francophonie Games Ottawa, Canada 3rd 10,000 m 34:30.66
2012 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom 31st Marathon 2:30:13 NR
2013 Francophonie Games Nice, France 1st 10,000 m 32:29.14
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 13th 10,000 m 31:28.69 NR

Circuit results



Year Race Time Place
2017 New York City Marathon 2:31:21 9th
2017 Boston Marathon 2:32:24 9th
2014 Montreal Marathon 1:13:07 1st
2013 New York City Marathon 2:30:09 10th
2013 Boston Marathon 2:29:54 8th
2011 New York City Marathon 2:41:21 20th
2011 Los Angeles Marathon 2:33:47 NR 4th
2010 Chicago Marathon 2:39:09 23rd

Other distances

Year Race Time Place
2018 Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon 1:15:20 15th
2018 Lilac Bloomsday Run 12 km 41:32 11th
2018 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler 53:56 5th
2017 Beach to Beacon 10 km 32:10 5th
2017 Steamboat Classic 4 Mile 20:49 1st
2017 New York Half Marathon 1:09:13 3rd
2017 Houston Half Marathon 1:11:42 10th
2016 Steamboat Classic 4 Mile 20:29 1st
2016 New York Mini 10K 32:18 3rd
2016 Great Manchester Run 10K 31:49 3rd
2016 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K 32:23 4th
2016 Payton Jordan Invitational 10,000m 31:57.99 16th
2016 Boston Athletic Association 5K 15:43 4th
2016 Carlsbad 5000 15:34 4th
2016 New York City Half Marathon 1:09:41 3rd
2016 World's Best 10K 32:45 9th
2016 Marugame Half Marathon 1:09:23 2nd
2016 Rock 'n' Roll Arizona 10K 32:11 1st
2015 Falmouth Road Race 36:47 1st
2014 Bay to Breakers 12K 40:15 1st
2013 Bay to Breakers 12K 40:12 1st
2013 New York City Half Marathon 1:09:12 2nd
2012 Alliant Energy 8K 25:50 1st
2012 Steamboat Classic 4 Mile 20:28 2nd
2012 New York Mini 10K 32:38 4th
2012 Dam tot Damloop 20K 1:07:52 CR 1st
2012 Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K 40:01 5th
2012 Payton Jordan Invitational 10,000m 32:45.96 20th
2012 BAA 5K 15:41 5th
2012 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K 26:11 3rd
2012 New York City Half Marathon 1:10:55 NR 11th
2011 Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon 1:12:08 6th
2011 Falmouth Road Race 7 Mile 37:13 2nd
2011 Beach to Beacon 10K 32:36.7 NR 4th
2011 Bix 7 37:59 3rd
2011 Fifth Season 8K, Cedar Rapids 26:07 NR 1st
2011 Steamboat Classic 4 Mile 20:41 NR 1st
2011 New York Mini 10K 33:28 12th
2011 Freihofer's Run for Women 5K 15:57 NR 6th
2011 Marion Arts Festival 5K 16:07 1st
2010 Philadelphia Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon 74:20 12th
2010 Steamboat Classic 4 Mile 21:26 7th
2010 Drake Relays 8K 27:10 1st
2010 Carlsbad 5000 16:23 7th
2010 Meyo Indoor Meet 3000m 9:22.48 5th
2010 New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon 1:14:25 6th
2009 Manchester Road Race 4.75 Miles 26:05 7th
2009 Fifth Season 8K, Cedar Rapids 26:42 2nd
2008 Manchester Road Race 4.75 Miles 25:17 3rd
2008 Outdoor Big 10 Championships 5000m 16:24.21 1st
2008 NCAA Women's Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships 5000 m 16:35.05 12th
2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships 20:07 4th
2007 Big 10 Championships Cross Country 6K 19:37 1st
2007 NCAA Women's Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships 10,000m 33:30.29 7th


See also



  1. ^ "Diane Nukuri's Long Run to Freedom". 10 November 2017.
  2. ^ Nukuri Diane. IAAF. Retrieved on 2012-07-29.
  3. ^ Francophone Games. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2012-07-29.
  4. ^ Diane Nukuri. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2012-07-29.
  5. ^ Diane Nukuri Archived 2012-07-21 at the Wayback Machine. London2012. Retrieved on 2012-07-29.
  6. ^ Battaglia, Joe (2013-03-17). Wilson Kipsang gives high octane performance at chilly NYC Half. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-03-23.
  7. ^ "Mile posts: Weekend Update ... With Diane Nukuri, Abbabiya Simbassa, Stanley Kebenei, Rebecca Naughton". The Des Moines Register.
  8. ^ Transfers of allegiance - Decisions of the World Athletics Nationality Review Panel in 2020 (as of 8 May 2020). World Athletics (2020-05-08). Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  9. ^ [1]. Boulder Wave. Retrieved on 2012-10-04.
Olympic Games
Preceded by Flagbearer for  Burundi
2000 Sydney
2012 London
Succeeded by