Refugee runner Abdullahi wins the Great Birmingham Run on his half marathon debut

Great Birmingham Run

Kadar Omar Abdullahi made it a memorable debut in the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday

Kadar Omar Abdullahi, who was part of the Refugee Team at the IAAF World Championships in London last summer, made headlines in the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run, a five-star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All, on Sunday (14).

Abdullahi fled his native Ethiopia with his uncle and brother at the age of 13 to travel to a refugee camp in neighbouring Kenya. He was given the chance to race in the 5000m in London where he crossed paths with his idol Mo Farah last summer and he has since settled in the United Kingdom where he hopes to be granted asylum.

Contesting the half marathon distance for the first time, Abdullahi - who was donning the vest of famous local club Birchfield Harriers - defied the treacherous conditions to make it a memorable debut, winning in 66:06.

“I was not expecting to run that quickly in those conditions so I’m happy,” Abdullahi told British magazine Athletics Weekly after the race. “This is my first half-marathon. I just said to myself: ‘let’s do this for the challenge’. It’s amazing.”

The women’s race was won by Nicole Sykes, who was born in the United States, in 79:57.

An estimated 11,000 runners took part in this year’s race and approximately two million pounds were raised for charity and not-for-profit causes. The course for this year’s race was also made faster with the steep incline on Lee Bank Medway taken out.

Entries are already open for the 2019 Great Birmingham Run.


The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong, recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.

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