Uta Pippig

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Uta Pippig (c) Stephen Coz

Uta Pippig (born 7 September 1965) is a retired German Long-distance runner, and the first woman to officially win the Boston Marathon three consecutive times (1994–1996). She also won the Berlin Marathon three times (1990, 1992 and 1995); the 1993 New York City Marathon; represented Germany at the Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996, and won a bronze medal at the 1991 World 15km Road Race Championship. Her marathon best of 2:21:45 set in Boston in 1994, made her the third-fastest female marathon runner in history at that time. She is a dual citizen of Germany and the United States.


The daughter of two physicians, Pippig was born in Leipzig and began running at the age of 13 while a citizen of the former East Germany. She finished 14th in the marathon at the 1987 World Championships. In university, she was a medical student at the Humboldt University Berlin where, after passing her final exams, she chose to re-focus her attention exclusively on running professionally. She left East Germany in 1990 before German reunification. She won the Eurocross meeting in Luxembourg that year.[1]

Pippig's results on the track at 10,000 meters, include finishing sixth at the 1991 World Championships, seventh at the 1992 Olympic Games, and ninth at the 1993 World Championships. She also won a bronze medal at the 1991 World 15 km Road Race Championship.

Pippig won the 1994 Boston Marathon in a lifetime best of 2:21:45, which at the time put her third on the world all-time list behind Ingrid Kristiansen and Joan Benoit. As of 2016, the time still ranks her second on the German all-time list behind Irina Mikitenko. Pippig won the 1996 Boston Marathon in the midst of ischemic colitis. This was incorrectly attributed to menstruation. Commentators on radio and TV were uncharacteristically tongue-tied. "Physical problems and diarrhea," said some commentators. Others stopped at the phrase "physical problems", or "stomach pain".[2] Eileen McNamara's Boston Globe article that said she "bled all the way from Hopkinton to Boston" was subject to mass criticism. At the 1996 Olympic Games, she dropped out of the marathon after 22 miles, having led earlier in the race.

In 1998, an out-of-competition drug test found Pippig had an elevated ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, and the German Athletics Federation attempted to ban her for two years. Pippig contested the finding on the grounds that her testosterone levels were normal, and that the elevated ratio was due to a low level of epitestosterone from a long battle with chronic bowel disease and other factors. This claim was supported by a variety of independent medical experts,[3] and a German arbitration court ultimately dismissed the case.[4]

In 2004, Pippig founded "Take the Magic Step" to provide health information and charitable support to individuals and to organizations that promote wellness and education. In 2005, she was named to the board of advisors of the MIT Agelab.

In 2008, Pippig and Take The Magic Step™ business consultant Michael Reger created the Take The Magic Step Foundation™ to provide financial and logistical support to organizations that promote education, fitness, and health. The foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of underprivileged children through organizations already established to help others. 5. The foundation supports organizations such as SOS Outreach in Colorado, the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House in Massachusetts, and the Kinderhilfe e.V. charity in Pippig’s hometown of Petertargen , Germany.

In 2012 Pippig began her international speaking series, “Running To Freedom™.” The series explores the value of freedom to individuals and society, and includes Pippig’s own history of her journey to freedom.

In 2016 Pippig began writing a column for the German newspaper “Die WELT,” and then for the German running magazine “Laufzeit & Condition,” and is currently working on her book, “Running To Freedom™.” In 2017, Pippig became the running expert and spokesperson for the Berlin Marathon.


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  East Germany
1986 Leipzig Marathon Leipzig, East Germany 1st Marathon 2:37:56
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 14th Marathon 2.39.30
Leipzig Marathon Leipzig, East Germany 1st Marathon 2:30:50
1990 Berlin Marathon Berlin, West Germany 1st Marathon 2:28:37
Representing  Germany
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan 6th 10,000 m 31:55.68
IAAF World Women's Road Race Championships Nieuwegein, Netherlands 3rd 15 km 48.44
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 7th 10,000 m 31.36.45
Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 1st Marathon 2:30:22
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 9th 10,000 m 31.39.97
New York City Marathon New York, United States 1st Marathon 2:26:24
1994 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:21:45
1995 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:25:11
Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 1st Marathon 2:25:37
1996 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:27:12
Olympic Games Atlanta, United States Marathon DNF

Personal bests[edit]

  • 5000 metres - 15:04.87 (1991)
  • 10,000 metres - 31:21.36 (1992)
  • Half-marathon - 67:58 (1995)
  • Marathon - 2:21:45 (1994)


  1. ^ Civai, Franco & Gasparovic, Juraj (2009-02-28). Eurocross 10.2 km (men) + 5.3 km (women). Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2010-03-01.
  2. ^ Cahn, Susan; Jean O'Reilly; Susan K. Cahn. Women and Sports in the United States. pg 300. ISBN 1-55553-671-9.
  3. ^ In analyses, it was determined by independent specialists Dr. Robert Barbieri, the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who is also an expert in hormones and the use of steroids, and Dr. Horst Lüppert, the Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Free University in Berlin, that Uta Pippig’s ratio imbalance was not due to high levels of testosterone, but rather low levels of epitestosterone.[citation needed] Separate expert opinions from both Dr. Barbieri and Dr. Lübbert, independently concluded that the use of oral contraceptives and active bowel disease both raise the T:E ratio.[citation needed] According to Dr. Barbieri, “The T:E ratio is not valid for women on oral contraceptives with active bowel disease.” According to Dr. Barbieri, “In April 1998, at or around the time that a urine specimen was taken for androgen matabolite analysis, Ms. Pippig was on oral contraceptive pills and had active bowel disease.” a) Letter from Dr. Horst Lübbert to German Track and Field Association, 1 October 1998. b) Letter from Dr. Robert Barbieri to Messieurs David Merz and Jens Peter Ketels, 22 January 1999
  4. ^ "Pippig gets clear record". Boston Globe. 8 August 2000. Retrieved 2009-02-09.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Elana Meyer
Women's half marathon world record holder]]
March 19, 1995 – March 9, 1997
Succeeded by
Elana Meyer
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Birgit Weinhold
Women's Leipzig Marathon winner
Succeeded by
Beate Kauke