Abdi is an American long-distance runner and a five-time Olympian competing for the United States in the marathon in the upcoming Summer Olympics (July).

Born in Hargeisa, Somalia, Abdirahman graduated from Tucson High School in 1995 and attended Pima Community College before transferring to the University of Arizona for his junior and senior years.

At Arizona, Abdirahman was named the 1998 Pacific-10 Conference Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year. He finished second at the 1998 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

He launched his Olympic career when he competed in the 10,000 meters at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Abdirahman has competed in three Summer Olympics since and is the first American distance runner ever to make five Olympic teams.

At the 2020 United States Olympic Trials in Atlanta, Abdi finished 3rd in the marathon with a time of 2:10:03, securing his place on a fifth Olympic team, and, at 43, becoming the oldest American runner ever to make the Olympic team.


Abdi has spent his entire adult life as a professional runner, competing in the Olympics, World Championships, major marathons, track meets, and road races all over the world.

But Abdi doesn’t define his life by his running career. Rather, Abdi believes life is defined by the choices one makes, the way you look at the world each day, and the people you surround yourself with. Known as “The Black Cactus,” he is one of the most beloved and respected figures in the sport because of his longevity, work ethic, and positive attitude.

In Abdi’s World: The Black Cactus on Life, Running, and Fun, Abdi shares thoughts on the world, running, and living. Readers will also discover his personal story, not just in professional distance running but also leaving Somalia for a refugee camp in Mombasa, Kenya, and eventually settling in Tucson and finding joy and opportunity in his new country.

Abdi credits everything he’s achieved in life to a combination of hard work, support, and luck—sometimes good and sometimes bad. But no matter the circumstances, he’s still pushing the pace and chasing the best that the world has to offer.


  • Summer Olympics (July)- Abdi has been to the Olympics 4 times already and this will be an unprecedented fifth Olympics for an American distance runner.
  • What he expects the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo to be like
  • His Olympic training regimen
  • Abdi is the oldest American runner to ever make the US Olympics team; he can share wisdom for other Olympic hopefuls
  • What was it was like to come to America from Somalia in high school, and how he feels about competing on the US team
  • For Running Day (June 5), what inspired his love of running
  • How to persevere through life, even if you’re unsure of the path you want to take, find the joy in every day and tips for going after your dreams


  • National Physical Fitness and Sports Month- May
  • Great Outdoors Month- June
  • Running Day- June 5th
  • Men’s Health Week- June 10th-16th
  • Olympics – July/August
  • Self Improvement Month- September