18 December 1973|
Fatuma Roba (Amharic: ፋጡማ ሮባ; born 18 December 1973) is an Ethiopian long distance runner, best known for being the first African woman to win a gold medal in the women's Olympic marathon race at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics and for winning three successive Boston Marathons.
Fatuma Roba was born on 18 December 1973 in Bekoji, Ethiopia. As Fatuma grew up, there were no female role models in long distance running within Ethiopia, only Abebe Bikila. While Fatuma was at school, she was not encouraged to run but decided to continue regardless. She was coached by Sentayehu Eshetu, who had previously worked with athletes such as Derartu Tulu.
She made her first national team in 1988, in the half marathon. That year she was in the top ten in the world championships, by 1992 she had improved to sixth. After coming first in the juniors and seventh overall in the New York Mini Marathon, she decided to try a full length marathon. So in 1994, she took part in the Paris Marathon, finishing 19th, later saying "when I finished I said, ;Never again, never again will I do this distance, it is too long!' I drank too much water, had stomach troubles, and after 14km I was finished."
She gave up the longer distance for the following year, but with 25 days to go until the 1995 World Championships in Athletics, it was suggested that she should compete since Ethiopia was not sending anyone else. So she competed, and ran well up until the 25 kilometres (16 mi) mark, but then felt dizzy and collapsed several times. She finished 19th, with a time of 2:39:27, but her performance put her in hospital afterwards.
But Fatuma decided to continue training at that distance. She won her first marathon at Marrakech in early 1996, before winning the Rome Marathon two months later. Between the two runs, she improved her personal best time by a minute. After the victory in Rome, she was selected for the Ethiopian team at the 1996 Summer Olympics, in Atlanta, United States, and intensified her training. She later said that by the 18-kilometre (11 mi) point in the women's marathon at the Atlanta Games, she was certain she had won the race because her fellow runners were tiring although she was finding the pace comfortable. With her victory and the gold medal, Fatuma became the first woman from an African nation to win the women's marathon at an Olympic Games.
Fatuma also won three straight Boston Marathons from 1997–1999. The three-time Boston champion narrowly missed a fourth straight title in 2000, coming in third in the closest finish in race history. She later said "Well, for me the greatest of all marathons is of course the Olympic Marathon, but second place is Boston."
|1990||World Junior Championships||Plovdiv, Bulgaria||16th (h)||3000m||9:26.63|
|1992||World Half Marathon Championships||Newcastle, United Kingdom||6th||Half marathon||1:10:28|
|1995||World Championships||Gothenburg, Sweden||19th||Marathon||2:39:27|
|1996||Rome City Marathon||Rome, Italy||1st||Marathon||2:29:05|
|Olympic Games||Atlanta, United States||1st||Marathon||2:26:05|
|1997||Boston Marathon||Boston, United States||1st||Marathon||2:26:23|
|World Championships||Athens, Greece||—||Marathon||DNF|
|1998||Boston Marathon||Boston, United States||1st||Marathon||2:23:21|
|1999||Boston Marathon||Boston, United States||1st||Marathon||2:23:25|
|World Championships||Seville, Spain||4th||Marathon||2:28:04|
|2000||Boston Marathon||Boston, United States||3rd||Marathon||2:26:27|
|Olympic Games||Sydney, Australia||9th||Marathon||2:27:38|
|2001||World Championships||Edmonton, Canada||13th||Marathon||2:31:10|
|2004||Nagano Marathon||Nagano, Japan||1st||Marathon||2:28:05|
- "Bekoji trip: Cradle of champions". Athletics Weekly. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- Tanser, Toby (19 April 2008). "Fatuma Roba: A Twisted Path to Living Legend". Runner's World.
- Hattenstone, Simon (6 April 2012). "The Ethiopian town that's home to the world's greatest runners". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- "Women's Boston Marathon is closest in history". NBC Sports. 21 April 2008. Archived from the original on 25 April 2008. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- "Fatuma Roba". Boston.com. Retrieved 24 October 2016.