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Uta Pippig

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Uta Pippig

Uta Pippig (1986)

Uta Pippig (born 7 September 1965 in Leipzig) is a female long-distance runner, and the first woman to officially win the Boston Marathon three consecutive times (1994–1996). She also won the Berlin Marathon three times (1990, 1992 and 1995), the New York City Marathon once (1993), and she represented Germany in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Her best times include 15:03 for 5000 meters, 31:21 for 10,000 meters, 67:58 for the half marathon and 2:21:45 for the marathon. Pippig obtained American citizenship in 2004, and now holds an American passport. In 2004, Pippig founded "Take The Magic Step" to provide health information and charitable support to individuals and to organizations that promote wellness and education. In 2005, she was named to the Board of Advisors of the MIT AgeLab.

The daughter of two physicians, Pippig began running at the age of 13 while a citizen of the former East Germany. In university, she was a medical student at the Humboldt University Berlin where, after passing her final exams, she chose to re-focus her attention exclusively on running professionally. She left East Germany in 1990 before German reunification. She won the Eurocross meeting in Luxembourg that year.[1]

In 1996, Uta Pippig became the first woman to win the Boston Marathon three times in a row. This historic accomplishment seems even more remarkable when you consider that she reportedly crossed the finish line with blood and diarrhea dripping down her legs — and live television cameras rolling. As Pippig recalls, "I started having stomach cramps about 5 miles into the race, and shortly after I had diarrhea. I was self-conscious [about it] not only for me — but in a caring way for our sport." She considered dropping out 7 or 8 miles in and even walked a little. Although uncomfortable, her focus shifted from winning the race to staying in it and running as well as she could in this situation. Later in the marathon, she admits "I was frightened when I felt blood flowing down my legs." That red trickle was widely attributed to menstrual problems, which Pippig says was a misconception. After winning the race, she was diagnosed with "ischemic colitis," or inflammatory bowel disease. [2]

In 1998, an out-of-competition drug test found Pippig had an elevated ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, and the German Athletics Federation attempted to ban her for two years. Pippig contested the finding on the grounds that her testosterone levels were normal, and that the elevated ratio was due to a low level of epitestosterone from a long battle with chronic bowel disease and other factors. This claim was supported by a variety of independent medical experts,[3] and a German arbitration court ultimately dismissed the case.[4]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  East Germany
1986 Leipzig Marathon Leipzig, East Germany 1st Marathon 2:37:56
1987 World Championships Rome, Italy 14th Marathon 2.39.30
Leipzig Marathon Leipzig, East Germany 1st Marathon 2:30:50
1990 Berlin Marathon Berlin 1st Marathon 2:28:37
Representing  Germany
1991 World Championships Tokyo, Japan 6th 10,000 m 31:55.68
World Women's Road Race Championships Nieuwegein, Netherlands 3rd 15 km 48.44
1992 Olympic Games Barcelona, Spain 7th 10,000 m 31.36.45
Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 1st Marathon 2:30:22
1993 World Championships Stuttgart, Germany 9th 10,000 m 31.39.97
New York City Marathon New York, United States 1st Marathon 2:26:24
1994 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:21:45
1995 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:25:11
Berlin Marathon Berlin, Germany 1st Marathon 2:25:37
1996 Boston Marathon Boston, United States 1st Marathon 2:27:12
Olympic Games Atlanta, United States Marathon DNF


  1. ^ Civai, Franco & Gasparovic, Juraj (2009-02-28). Eurocross 10.2 km (men) + 5.3 km (women). Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved on 2010-03-01.
  2. ^
  3. ^ In analyses, it was determined by independent specialists Dr. Robert Barbieri, the Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who is also an expert in hormones and the use of steroids, and Dr. Horst Lüppert, the Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Free University in Berlin, that Uta Pippig’s ratio imbalance was not due to high levels of testosterone, but rather low levels of epitestosterone. Separate expert opinions from both Dr. Barbieri and Dr. Lübbert, independently concluded that the use of oral contraceptives and active bowel disease both raise the T:E ratio. According to Dr. Barbieri, “The T:E ratio is not valid for women on oral contraceptives with active bowel disease.” According to Dr. Barbieri, “In April 1998, at or around the time that a urine specimen was taken for androgen matabolite analysis, Ms. Pippig was on oral contraceptive pills and had active bowel disease.” a) Letter from Dr. Horst Lübbert to German Track and Field Association, 1 October 1998. b) Letter from Dr. Robert Barbieri to Messieurs David Merz and Jens Peter Ketels, 22 January 1999
  4. ^ "Pippig gets clear record". Boston Globe. 8 August 2000. Retrieved 2009-02-09. 

External links

  • Official Website of Uta Pippig
  • Boston Globe Article on Uta
  • IAAF Biography on Uta Pippig
  • sports-reference
Preceded by
Elana Meyer
Women's Half Marathon World Record Holder
March 19, 1995 – March 9, 1997
Succeeded by
Elana Meyer
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Birgit Weinhold
Women's Leipzig Marathon winner
Succeeded by
Beate Kauke
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