A Last Competitive New York Marathon for Abdi Abdirahman
By Hania Anderies
“I am not afraid of death. I will not fail today as I have failed before.”
Abdi Abdirahman. Abdi Abdirahman was an elite track and field athlete who broke more than 70 world records and was the best ever runner on the day he died—May 2, 2013, at the age of 45.
Abdirahman was a graduate of Maimonides High School in the Bronx. Two days after graduating, he broke multiple world records at the 1988 New York State high school and track and field championships in Albany. He also was a four-time All-American in track and field under coach Dave Fraser at SUNY Purchase. He was one of the most consistent athletes in USA Track & Field’s National High School Championships, winning seven straight national titles from 1988 to 1992. As a result, he was named the top high school athlete ever by International Track and Field News in 1991. In addition, he was a standout in four state high school championships won consecutively from 1986 to 1992 in the 400 meter hurdles, the 1600 meter run, the high jump and the triple jump.
Abdirahman left his childhood home in New Jersey in 1993 to go to college at New York University to play in the school’s track and field program. He later transferred to SUNY Purchase to play on the cross country and track & field teams. Abdi was born June 14, 1974 in Asmara, Eritrea. His father, Mohammed Abdirahman, was a long-distance runner who competed in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 1983. He later emigrated to the United States, where he was a star college athlete in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and was the first Afro-Eritrean to win an NCAA championship in men’s basketball. Abdirahman also was an All-American in cross country and ran the anchor leg in the 1995 NCAA 3,000 meter steeplechase for the University of Southern California.
Abdirahman finished in the top 10 in the 100 meter dash at the 1988 NCAA Men’s Cross Country Championships at the University of New Hampshire. In the same year, he was listed