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Deriba Merga

[Photo of Deriba Merga]

26 October 1980

2:06:38 (London, 2008)


10Oct10 Bank of America Chicago Marathon DNF
19Apr10 Boston Marathon 3rd 2:08:39
20Apr09 Boston Marathon 1st 2:08:42
24Aug08 Olympic Games Marathon, Beijing 4th 2:10:21
13Apr08 Flora London Marathon 6th 2:06:38
17Apr06 Boston Marathon DNF


06Mar11 Lake Biwa Marathon, Otsu 2nd 2:09:13
18Jan09 Houston Marathon 1st 2:07:52
02Dec07 Fukuoka Marathon 2nd 2:06:50
15Apr07 Paris International Marathon 11th 2:13:33


Deriba Merga (Ejigu) became just the third Ethiopian to win the Boston Marathon with his dominating run at the 2009 race. Joining Abebe Mekonen (1989) and Hailu Negussie (2005), Merga broke away from the chase pack in the second half en route to a 50-second margin of victory.

Merga emerged as one of the world's best half-marathoners in 2007. He broke the one-hour barrier three times with a third place 59:44 at Ras Al Khaimah, a third place 59:25 at Rotterdam and a fourth place at the World Road Running Championships in Udine, Italy (59:16 personal best). He also won the all African Games Half-Marathon.

Earlier in the year he placed thirteenth at the Paris International Marathon but then ended 2007 with a big jump into the world's elite by finishing second at Fukuoka in 2:06:50, just 11 seconds behind the winner, Samuel Wanjiru.

In 2006, Merga won the Paris Half-Marathon, Wincanton Montferland Run 15-K and Great Ethiopian Run 10-K. He was also sixth at the World Road Running Championships 20-K.
At the 2007 WRRC Merga set PRs en route for 10-K (27:35), 15-K (41:34) and 20-K (56:13). Last year he also set a 10,000m PR of 27:02.62 at the Fanny Blankers Koen Games in Hengelo.

Merga began 2008 by becoming the first Ethiopian to win the World's Best 10-K (28:03) over an extremely competitive field. He ran his first Major at London and wound up with the fastest sixth place time in history, 2:06:38.

For much of the Beijing Olympics race Merga was either in the lead or shared it with Samuel Wanjiru. However, he tired in the final kilometers and although he ws third entering the Olympic stadium he was passed on the track by countryman Tsegaye Kebede and finished fourth, 21 seconds behind.

Merga did not finish the 2008 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships, but at the AirTel Delhi Half-Marathon in November it took a new personal record of 59:15 to hold off Wilson Kipsang by just one second.

This year Merga broke the 20-year-old course record at the Chevron Houston Marathon by more than two minutes and finished third at the RAK Half Marathon in 59:18. During that race, Merga tied Kenyan Felix Limo’s 15K world record, by passing the mark in 41:29.


Merga was born in Nekemt, graduated from high school and trains with the Ethiopian squad in Addis Ababa. He is coached by Haji Adilo.