Lelisa Desisa

Lelisa Desisa Ethiopia

After finishing on the podium three times previously, Lelisa Desisa finally claimed his first TCS New York City Marathon title in 2018. He held off fellow Ethiopian Shura Kitata by two seconds to win the race in 2:05:59, the second-fastest time in event history. It marked his fourth podium appearance in New York.

In his TCS New York City Marathon debut in 2014, Desisa battled Wilson Kipsang of Kenya into Central Park, ultimately taking second in 2:11:06. In 2015, he followed the aggressive surge from Kenyans Stanley Biwott and Geoffrey Kamworor through the Bronx and into Manhattan, dropped off the pace just before entering Central Park, but held on for third place. In 2016, he stayed with Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and Lucas Rotich before falling back from the leaders near the Willis Avenue Bridge in mile 20. By mile 22 he abandoned the race, unable to finish. In 2017, he came charging back to take third place.

Desisa’s marathon career began with a win at the 2013 Dubai Marathon, where he outlasted four competitors in a sprint finish. Three months later, he won the Boston Marathon with a similar surge in the last kilometer. When he returned to Boston that June for the B.A.A. 10K, he gave his first-place marathon medal back to the city as a tribute to the victims of the bombing attacks that occurred during the marathon. He would earn his second Boston Marathon title in 2015, winning in 2:09:17, and he placed second there the following year in 2:13:32. Most recently, in April, he garnered another runner-up performance in Boston in 2:07:59, missing out on the winner’s trophy by just two seconds.

Desisa has represented Ethiopia twice in the IAAF World Championships Marathon; he earned the silver medal at the 2013 Championships in Moscow and was seventh in the 2015 race in Beijing. In May 2017, he participated in Nike’s Breaking 2 attempt to run a sub-two hour marathon. He held up until the 28th kilometer, where he began to slow; he finished in 2:14:10.

  • Date of Birth Jan 14, 1990
  • Age 29
  • Gender Male
  • Country Ethiopia
  • Residence Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


Career Highlights

Year Event Time PLACE
2019 Boston Marathon 2:07:59 2nd
2018 TCS New York City Marathon 2:05:59 1st
2015 Boston Marathon 2:09:17 1st
2013 Boston Marathon 2:10:22 1st
2013 IAAF World Championships Marathon 2:10:12 2nd

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2017 United Airlines NYC Half

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