Germán Silva

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Germán Silva
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing  Mexico
World Half Marathon Championships
Silver medal – second place 1994 Oslo Half marathon
CAC Games
Gold medal – first place 1990 Mexico City 3000m steeplechase

Germán Silva Martínez (born 9 January 1968 in Zacatlán, Puebla) is a retired Mexican long-distance runner who specialized in the marathon. His foremost achievements were back-to-back victories at the New York City Marathon in 1994 and 1995. He represented Mexico twice at the Summer Olympics, in 1992 and 1996.[1] He also competed at the World Championships in Athletics on two occasions. His personal best for the marathon is two hours, eight minutes, and 56 seconds.

Outside marathon running, he was the silver medallist at the 1994 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships (where he set the Mexican record of 1:00:28) and won a gold medal in the steeplechase at the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games.


Silva grew up in Tecomate, Veracruz. He began his career as a steeplechase specialist and won his first medals in that event, taking bronze at the 1988 Ibero-American Championships and then winning his first international title at the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico City.[2][3] That same year he began to compete in road running events and won the Lilac Bloomsday Run.[4] In his final international steeplechase outing, he came sixth at the 1991 Pan American Games.

20150412 Rotterdam Marathon German Silva (cropped).jpg

Silva changed his focus to the 10,000 metres for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the switch paid off as he ran a career best time of 27:46.52 in June then finished in sixth place in the Olympic final. He represented Mexico in that event at the 1993 World Championships in Athletics and came ninth overall. He returned for a second attempt at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics and despite having one of his fastest-ever runs in the heats (27:49.07), he eventually finished in 13th place.[5]

He came in third at the 1994 London Marathon, then finished as runner-up behind Khalid Skah at the 1994 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Oslo, taking the silver medal. Although he was one second away from victory at the Oslo race, his half marathon time of 1:00:28 was a Mexican record – a mark which, as of 2012, remains the country's best. During the New York City Marathon race in November, he recovered from a wrong turn seven-tenths of a mile before the finish that put him 40 yards behind his countryman Benjamín Paredes. He ran a 5:15 final mile, including the detour, to beat Paredes by two seconds with a time of 2:11:21.[6] The incident earned him the nickname "Wrong-Way Silva".[7]

At the start of 1995 he ran at the Tokyo Half Marathon and recorded his second-fastest ever time, coming second to Brazil's Eduardo do Nascimento in 1:00:47. At the 1995 World Championships in Athletics, he placed thirteenth in the 10,000 metres. A few months later, he won the New York City Marathon for a second time running, finishing in a time of 2:11:00. He made his Olympic marathon debut at the 1996 Atlanta Games and finished in sixth place. In 1997 he was fifth in New York and fourth in the Boston Marathon. The year after, he ran a lifetime marathon best of 2:08:56 at the Boston race, but this was only enough for sixth place.[5]

Outside major events, he competed on the European road running circuit and had victories at the Giro di Castelbuono and Amatrice-Configno race in Italy in 1995.[8][9] He also won the 1998 Egmond Half Marathon, which he won in a course-record time of 1:03:08.[10]

Following his failure to finish at the 2001 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, Silva retired from professional running. He owns a successful company, Germán Silva Coaching, organizes races, and is the ambassador of the Texel Half Marathon in the Netherlands. He also continues to enjoy his daily runs, coaching all levels of runners, including Mexico's best marathoner Madai Perez (2:22:59) and 2010 Central American Games gold medallist in the 10,000 metres Juan Carlos Romero. Silva started participating in triathlons and Ironman events (Cozumel 2009 10:40:44). He participated in the Half Ironman of Buffalo Springs 2011 (4:53:53). He's also head coach athletics at La Loma, a high-altitude training center in San Luis Potosí and a successful businessman in Wellness International Network.[11]

Silva was given the Abebe Bikila Award for 2011 by New York Road Runners in recognition of his memorable victories at the New York City Marathon and his continued work in promoting running in the Mexican community.[12] In October 2014, NYRR received from King Felipe of Spain the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award. Germán, together with Tegla Loroupe as outstanding examples representing the running community, received the same honour. Two weeks later, he was inducted to the NYRR Hall of Fame together with Kathrine Switzer, George Spitz, and Alan Steinfeld.


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
1988 Ibero-American Championships Ciudad de México, México 3rd 3000 m s'chase 9:14.45 A
1990 Central American and Caribbean Games Mexico City, Mexico 1st 3000 m s'chase 9:01.26 A
1991 Pan American Games Havana City, Cuba 6th 3000 m s'chase 8:51.16
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 6th 10,000 m 28:20.19
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 9th 10,000 m 28:39.47
1994 World Half Marathon Championships Oslo, Norway 2nd Half marathon 1:00:28 PB
New York City Marathon New York City, United States 1st Marathon 2:11:21
London Marathon London, England 3rd Marathon 2:09:18
1995 World Championships Gothenburg, Sweden 13th 10,000 m 27:55.34
New York City Marathon New York City, United States 1st Marathon 2:11:00
1996 London Marathon London, England 11th Marathon 2:14:49
Olympic Games Atlanta, United States 6th Marathon 2:14:29
1997 New York City Marathon New York City, United States 5th Marathon 2:10:19
Boston Marathon Boston, United States 4th Marathon 2:11:21
1998 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 6th Marathon 2:08:56
New York City Marathon New York City, United States 4th Marathon 2:10:24

Personal bests[edit]


  1. ^ Germán Silva Archived November 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Sports Reference. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  2. ^ Ibero American Championships. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  3. ^ Central American and Caribbean Games. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  4. ^ Lilac Bloomsday 12 km. ARRS (2011-05-12). Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  5. ^ a b Silva, German. IAAF. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  6. ^ Longman, Jere (1994-11-04). NEW YORK CITY MARATHON; Silva: Detour, Stop, Reverse, Victory. New York Times. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  7. ^ Dowell, James (2015-01-20) New York City Marathon. ProMarathon. Retrieved on 2015-01-22.
  8. ^ Amatrice-Configno 8.4 km. Association of Road Racing Statisticians (2011-08-14). Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  9. ^ Monti, David & Civai, Franco (2011-08-02). La Corsa Piu' Antica 10 km. ARRS. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  10. ^ van Hemert, Wim (2011-01-10). Egmond Half Marathon. ARRS. Retrieved on 2011-10-27.
  11. ^ Longman, Jere (1994-11-07). "Silva: Detour, Stop, Reverse, Victory". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
  12. ^ Gérman Silva named as winner of Abebe Bikila Award. IAAF/NYRR (2011-10-26). Retrieved on 2011-10-27.

External links[edit]