Algeria’s Sports Hero: Souad Ait Salem

Souad Aït Salem was born in the Algerian mountains, in Mecheria on the 6th of January 1979. On the African continent Algeria is considered the second biggest country and is recognized as an Islamic, Amazigh and Arab country. Souad Aït Salem represents Algeria as a long-distance runner focusing primarily on marathons and half marathons.

Souad Aït Salem has participated in many long-distance marathons all over the world and is considered one of the best women runners around. Among the many races she participated in during the year 2000, the African Championships, which took place in her home country, in the city of Algiers was a highlight. She took part in the 10,000 meters race and came in first out of all the runners that took part. Two years later at the African Championships in Radès, Tunisia she took part in the same race but was not able to finish as well as she had before.

The year 2004 saw Souad Aït Salem participating in the Pan Arab Games in Algiers, Algeria here she took part in the half marathon, the 10,000 meters and the 5000 meters. All three races she shone out as the number one winner showing she was definitely not a one hit wonder. More recently she took part in the World Road Running Championship that took part in Debrecen, which can be found in Hungary. The race was a 20 km road race that took her 1:06:11, a personal best, placing her at ninth position overall.

The best times Souad Aït Salem has achieved for the different road races and marathons has been for 5000 meters 8:47.99 minutes, in the 10,000 meters she ran it in 32:13.15, for twenty kilometers a total of 1:06:11 hours, in the half marathon a total of 1:10:26 hours and for a full marathon a time of 2:28:22 hours.

At the age of twenty-eight years Souad Aït Salem won the thirteenth Rome Marathon for the first time at a course record of 2:25:08 beating the previous record by thirty-eight seconds. The Rome Marathon had approximately 7901 runners who actually finished the race making it the biggest half marathon race in Italy. Aït Salem’s win in Rome was a highlight in her life, but her marriage in Algeria a week after was even more so.