Two-time Ethiopian Olympic Gold Medallist Meseret Defar is presented with the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award

Today in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), presented Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) with the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award.

Meseret is an athlete who has won Gold in the 5,000m events at both the 2004 (Athens) and 2012 (London) Olympics. She also won the 5,000m events at the World Championships in 2007 (Osaka) and 2013 (Moscow). She has held the World Record in the 5,000m, setting the record of 14:24.53 in New York City in 2006 then setting a new record of 14:16.63 in Oslo in 2007.

Meseret was presented her award, a laurel wreath from the home of the marathon; Athens, Greece by H.E Semegne Wube Haile, State Minister for Women, Children and Youth of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in advance of the women’s race in Ethiopia called ‘Women First 5k’, a race that Meseret supports as Ambassador.

The giving of a laurel wreath trophy is highly symbolic and dates back to the ancient Olympic Games and before, to the quadrennial Pythian Games where laurel wreaths were given to victors. Legend has it that the Pythian Games were held in honour of the Greek God Apollo who had slain a great serpent Python.

The AIMS Inspirational Woman Award is presented by the AIMS Women’s Commission, a world women’s running movement aiming to improve the participation of women in distance running throughout the world while empowering women through the sport of running.

The first recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award was Namibia’s Commonwealth Games Marathon gold medallist Helalia Johannes who received the award after winning the 2019 Nagoya Women’s Marathon, the world’s largest women’s marathon: (20,000 women: recognised by Guinness World Records).

Meseret Defar comments: “I am honoured to be presented with the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award. I would like to thank AIMS, their members and the AIMS Women’s Commission for recognising me with this award. It is especially appropriate to receive this award at the’ Women First 5k’ here in Ethiopia, which is this year celebrating its 17th year. Of course, it is good to win races and break records but if my profile in running helps in any way to inspire other women to succeed in whatever area of life and to improve their health and wellbeing through the wonderful sport of running, then that would mean the world to me.”

The Leader of the AIMS Women’s Commission & AIMS Vice President, Martha Morales comments: “Meseret has been a symbol of success as a woman in athletics for many years. She is a role model not just for women in Africa, but around the world. She is a deserving recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award.”

AIMS President Paco Borao comments: “On behalf of AIMS Members and sponsors around the world I would like to congratulate Meseret on becoming the 2nd recipient of the AIMS Inspirational Woman Award. We hope this award, and the work of the AIMS Women’s Commission can inspire women around the world to participate in running, the world’s original and most affordable sport.”

About the AIMS Women’s Commission
The AIMS Women’s Commission has been created in support of goal 5 in the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”

The AIMS Women’s Commission was founded in 2019 with the following objectives:

  • To give women the biggest health platform through the sport of running
  • To empower women through the sport of running
  • To improve women´s participation in distance running events throughout the world
  • To create the largest women´s world running movement
  • To be the primary source of information about distance running for women
  • To link female runners all around the world
  • To create & action women´s social project


Please find links below to images provided for your use. The image features (left to right):

Meseret Defar (with her AIMS Inspirational Woman Award) and H.E Semegne Wube Haile, State Minister for Women, Children and Youth of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Click here to download. Photo credit - Ashenafi Gudeta.

About AIMS
AIMS is a member based organisation and since being established in 1982 has grown to a membership of more than 470 of the world’s leading distance races, from 125 countries and territories. AIMS Members come from every continent on the planet and include the ‘Athens Marathon. The Authentic’ formed on the legend of Pheidippides, the Greek soldier-runner who ran from the town of Marathon to Athens in 490 BC to announce the Persians had been defeated in the ‘Battle of Marathon’. Other AIMS members include many of the world’s greatest distance races in history such as the Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Comrades, New York, Paris & Tokyo Marathons. The three key objectives of AIMS are:

  1. To foster and promote distance running throughout the world
  2. To work with World Athletics (WA) on all matters relating to international road races.
  3. To exchange information, knowledge and expertise among members of the association.