Tirunesh Dibaba runs her third marathon at Bank of America Chicago Marathon

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tirunesh dibaba.jpgTirunesh Dibaba and Carey Pinkowski, British House, World Champs 2017, London, photo by RunBlogRun

Tomorrow will be the the third marathon of Tirunesh Dibaba. In April 2014, Tirunesh Dibaba took third in 2:20:35, after having to stop for a water bottle at 30k. She learnt much from that race.

Now, she is in Chicago, and fit. Her biggest challenge could be mother nature, with some humidty and rain.

We will just have to wait until tomorrow!

My first glimpse of Tirunesh Dibaba was in 2003 in the Stade de France. No one expected her to take over the race and win the 5,000 meters at the young age of 18! Dibaba won with an emotional sprint for the finish, taking the gold from Spain's Marta Dominguez and Kenya's Isabelle Oichichi! " I had no pressure" Tirunesh Dibaba told the assembled media.

In Athens 2004, Tirunesh picked up the bronze medal over 5,000 meters, and that would be the last time she did not take home gold for some time.

In 2005, Tirunesh won the 10,000m and 5,000m in Helsinki, a fantastic double at the age of 20! It was in the build up to that season that Tirunesh set the 5000m world indoor record at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. It was fascinating to watch her run indoors, as she could take the pace out hard with pacemakers and then, produce an amazing sprint to take the win and record!

I recall the 2007 10,000 meters, where she fell, had abdominal cramps and still won the 10,000 meters in Osaka! Dibaba had produced a first for women, winning back to back world champs over 10,000 meters.

In 2008, Tirunesh doubled once again, winning the 10,000m and 5,000m, while before the Olympics, Tirunesh ran 14:11.15, breaking the world record of one Meseret Defar, her toughest rival.

Tirunesh was human, as she had physical challenges in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Tirunesh Dibaba gathered herself with some healthy training and won her second Olympic 10,000m gold and took the bronze in the 5,000m, after battling Meseret Defar until the last fifty meters.

In Moscow 2013, Tirunesh continued to battle the best, winning the 10,000m gold once again.

The finest women runner over 5000m and 10,000m was moving up to the marathon, and her first, at Virgin Money London, in April 2014, gave her an amazing 2:20:35 and third. Many believed that she could have won the race, only 14 seconds behind first and only 11 seconds behind second.

Dibaba_Tirunesh-OlyGame16.jpgTirunesh Dibaba, Rio 2016, photo by PhotoRun.net

Okay, a digression.

Tirunesh Dibaba is called the Babyfaced Destroyer. I am not sure she likes that, but I will tell you, Tirunesh Dibaba is one of the fiercest competitors, men or women, that I have ever seen. This athlete does not like taking anything but first, and while she is always courteous, always thoughtful in her response, Tirunesh learns from each and every race.

Here bronze medal in 2016 Rio with a 29:43.56 PB shocked many, but it is that underestimating of Dibaba's fine racing skills, honed and calloused over 14 years of racing. In the finest 10,000 meters for women of all times, when five women broke 30 minutes, Tirunesh Dibaba, fourteen months after giving birth to her son, showed just how great she truly is. Her short build up gave her an amazing time and an Olympic medal.

I loved all her medals, but have to tell you, her 2:17:56 for second at London Marathon in April 2017, after throwing up about 22 miles (twice) made me a complete believer in her ability to run the marathon as fast as she desires. Tirunesh followed that up with the brilliant silver in London World Champs, in a tactical 25 lapper, reminded me of her racing skill.

Dibaba_TiruneshM-RAK17.jpgTirunesh Dibaba, photo by PhotoRun.net

Just how good is Tirunesh Dibaba? I believe she will get the world record over the marathon one day. In Chicago tomorrow Tirunesh Dibaba should win, and if the weather calms down, she could run under Paula Radcliffes' course record of 2:17:18.

Tirunesh Dibaba told @runblogrun today that her training has gone quite well and she is ready to roll. A women of few words, Tirunesh Dibaba lets her feet, lungs and heart do the talking!

Tomorrow could be a very special race from Tirunesh Dibaba.

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