Hendrick Ramaala

Updated: January 10, 2013

Event: Men’s Long Distances
Date of birth: 1972/02/02
Personal bests: 3 000m (7:52.02), 5 000m (13:24.43), 10 000m (27:29.94, SA record), 10km (28:02), Half-Marathon (1:00:07), Marathon (2:06.55)
Major achievements:
10 000m: 1999 World Championships, Seville (11th, final)
Half-Marathon: 1998 World Championships, Uster (2nd); 1999 World Championships, Palermo (2nd)
Marathon: 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney (12th); 2003 World Championships, Paris Saint-Denis (9th); 2004 New York Marathon (1st); 2005 London Marathon (3rd); 2005 New York Marathon (2nd); 2006 London Marathon (3rd); 2007 New York Marathon (3rd)

Having taken to running when he realised his dream of playing football was not being realised at university, Hendrick Ramaala turned himself into one of the most respected long distance road runners in the world. A self-coached athlete, in 2004 he won the Mumbai Marathon and the prestigious New York Marathon, after making the step up from track and cross country four years earlier. In 2005, he lost out in a narrow sprint finish to Kenyan rival Paul Tergat to finish second in New York, and in 2007 he was third in the Big Apple. He also twice finished third in the London Marathon, setting a career best of 2:06:55 in the 2006 race. Never at his best over the full marathon distance at championship events, Ramaala was tremendously successful over the half-marathon distance. He took the silver medals at the 1998 and 1999 World Half-Marathon Championships, narrowly losing out in a sprint to Tergat in the latter race, and leading South Africa to the team gold medal at both events. He set a fast 59:20 on the slightly downhill course in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2000 and clocked the official SA half-marathon record of 1:00:07 in Kosice in 1997. An accomplished track athlete in his own right, Ramaala holds the national 10 000m record after clocking 27:29.94 in Port Elizabeth in 1999. His career has waned in recent years, with spotted performances, as Ramaala, a law graduate, shifts his focus to his role as an athletics administrator.