Tirunesh Dibaba is one of my favorite athletes. She is, in my opinion, the female version of Miruts Yifter, the gifted Ethiopian who won both the 10,000 and 5,000 in Moscow 1980.
I recall her sprint in the 2003 World Champs at the age of 18. Her sense of focus, her sense of purpose, and her kick were mesmeriging. Her finish was both elegant and deadly.
In watching Tirunesh run indoors, I always loved watching her wind up from about 600 meters out. The indoor track was perfect for her stride and her deadling kick over 200 meters.
In observing her three marathons (London 2014, 2:20:25, third, London 2017, 2:17:56, second and Chicago 2017, first, 2:18:30), one sees the finest women distance track athlete of all times now bringing her focus to the marathon. On the roads, one is reminded of the development of Eliud Kipchoge. Tirunesh ran 2:18:30 leading most of the 26.2 miles, and her nearly even half marathons show a sense of pace that is truly unique.
This interview was done on Friday, October 6, two days prior to Chicago. Tirunesh understands English and speaks well, she just prefers a translator, so thanks to Sabrina Yohannes, the finest translator for Ethiopian athletes because she gets the nuances, and what is not said as well as what is said.
One last thing, I believe that Tirunesh Dibaba will be the next women to run 2:15 for the marathon. She has all of the tools, skills, focus and she is determined to be the very best.