Running Zone: Seattle Marathon Profiles

2010 Seattle Marathon winners had humble beginnings

By Sandra Kennedy

Sabine Pullins is a quick study. In 2006, for instance, she didn’t even know what a marathon was. Four years later, however, Pullins, 37, blazed to victory in the 40th Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon, beating 730 other women marathoners with a time of 3:04:21.

Originally from Germany and now living in Bend, Ore., Pullins realized in 2006 that she needed to begin exercising. The mother of two teenagers began walking for 20 minutes each day. Next, she began jogging, first for 400 meters, then for several miles. One day, her husband asked her, “Why don’t you run a marathon?”

Her reply: “What’s a marathon?”

A year later Pullins began training for her first 26.2-miler. She also became a certified personal trainer, and an endurance and nutrition specialist.

“Running is a part of my life, like eating,” says Pullins. She believes that the way to teach her children how to live a healthy life is by keeping herself active and fit. Pullins is a “self-coached” runner who learns by trial and error and trains for marathons by running on a daily basis.

As of press time, Pullins hadn’t decided if she will defend her title come Nov. 27 but recalls the 2010 marathon as scenic and well-laid out— but with “brutal hills!”

Pullins offers these tips for marathon success:

“Prepare for the weather, which is incredibly unpredictable. Focus on endurance with longer runs each time. Run often. Her secret of success is doing long runs. She doesn’t run to win but rather likes to keep a steady pace.

Teshome Kokebe — 2010 Men’s Seattle Marathon winner

2010 Seattle Marathon winners: men’s winner Teshome Kokebe, 2:30:57; women’s winner (above) Sabine Pullins, 3:04:21. Photos courtesy of Brightroom Photography

“Running is everything to me,” says Teshome Kokebe, who outran 1,350 other men in the 2010 Seattle Marathon with a winning time of 2:30:57. “I am hungry for running and will run until I die.”


Hailing from Ethiopia, Kokebe has lived in the United States since October, 2010—a month later he won the Seattle Marathon. Currently an athletic trainer living in Lynnwood, Wash., Kokebe began his running career in Ethiopia and has run marathons in India, Ethiopia and Geneva, Switzerland.

Originally, Kokebe was a body builder but one day a friend suggested that he try running. First he ran an 8k cross-country race in his hometown and he quickly learned that he was a good middle distance runner in the 5k, 10k, and half marathon. Yet he dreamed of running—and winning—a marathon.

Kokebe made his dream come true at last year’s Seattle Marathon. To train for this event, he ate complex carbs and his favorite Ethiopian food, “Injera” with chicken.

Kokebe runs twice a day totaling between 120 to 150 miles per week with a few weight-training sessions thrown in.

He says he felt “very good” to have won Seattle last year, although he was disappointed in his time, especially with the nearly perfect running weather that day.

But, “it is good to win first place,” he adds. Even better, Kokebe dedicated his win to the memory of his father and he is grateful for all the people he has met in Seattle.

“I like to live here. People are sociable and I love people,” he says, adding, “and, they also like running.”

Like Pullins, Kokebe hadn’t yet decided (at press time) if he will be back to defend his title.


Seattle Marathon race details

Amica Seattle Marathon

Expo: Nov. 25-26, Westin Hotel, Seattle

Race: Nov. 27, start/finish at Seattle Center

Events: Marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k, kids’ marathon

Web site:

Sandra Kennedy is a freelance writer living in Portland. This is her
second contribution to
Outdoors NW.