Abdihamid Nur
Nur (left) competes for the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in 2020.
Personal information
Born (1998-10-14) October 14, 1998 (age 25)
Mogadishu, Somalia
Home townPhoenix, Arizona
Alma materNorthern Arizona University '22
North High School
Event(s)5000 m, 10,000 m
University teamNorthern Arizona Lumberjacks
Turned pro2022
Coached byMichael Smith
Achievements and titles
Personal bests

Abdihamid "Abdi" Nur (born October 14, 1998) is a Somali-born American long-distance runner.[1] He competed collegiately for Northern Arizona University from 2019 to 2022, where he won multiple national titles in the NCAA and set a collegiate record in the outdoor 5000 m. After graduating, Nur signed with Nike and has since won 2 national titles and represented the US at the 2022 and 2023 World Championships.

Early life

Nur was born on October 14, 1998, in Mogadishu, Somalia. He is the second youngest of eight children. He has three older brothers, three older sisters, and a younger sister. His family moved away from Somalia when he was very young due to the country's political instability. He remembers little of his time there since he was still an infant. His mother wanted a safer life for them, so she made the decision for them to leave Somalia.[2][3]

They stayed in Kenya, where their mother owned a shop, for three short years prior to settling in Cairo, Egypt for five years. Nur was only 4 when they arrived in Egypt. Then, they immigrated to the United States in 2006 where they first lived in New Mexico for a brief period of time. However, they relocated to Apple Valley, Minnesota, where they had extended family members near the area. Their mother was the primary provider for the family. She worked odd jobs as a janitor and babysitter to financially support them. They would relocate once again to Phoenix, Arizona, while Nur was about to enter high school in 2013. Their mother grew tired of the cold climate in Minnesota.[2][3]

2013–2017: Relocation to Arizona

Initially, Nur played soccer as an underclassman at North High School before he ever started running. He shared that "sports brought [him] closer to people and helped [him] make friends". He even attributed sports for his smooth transition to the United States by allowing him to acclimate to a new culture. But, a nearly fatal car accident in his second year was what ultimately brought Nur to running. A driver in another car struck the car that Nur was riding in as a passenger in the backseat. Nur ended up tearing ligaments in his knee and required surgery to fix his injured collarbone. He was bedridden temporarily, missed the entire soccer season as a result, and was unable to go to school for three months. He recalls the experience messing him up and being a "really bad time for [him]".[2]

Eager to return to soccer in his junior year, he went through rehab just so that he could quickly get back to the field in good shape. During his rehabilitation, he needed to improve his endurance and conditioning. His coach advised him to give cross country a try. Immediately, Nur showed great potential by coming in third place at his first meet in Flagstaff, Arizona. His coach saw this and recommended that Nur forget soccer and seriously consider switching to running. Nur thought the idea sounded crazy because "soccer was something [he] grew up loving" and an integral part of his identity. His whole family played soccer, including all of his brothers, which is why he struggled to envision quitting the sport.[2]

Soon though, Nur actually took a liking to running and it became something that he did out of genuine interest. Later, he won the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) Cross Country Division I State Championships in his senior year of high school which opened up many opportunities with colleges for him.

Nur is a 2016 Arizona Interscholastic Association Cross Country Division I State Champion, and 3-time Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I State finalist. Nur set personal best times of 5 km 15:30.0, 3200 m 9:27.02, & 1600 m 4:28.34.

He began to receive calls following his win at the AIA Cross Country Championships, putting him on Northern Arizona University's (NAU) radar. Despite failing to qualify academically for the university's cross country team right away, he had to implement changes to his studies to compete for the university at the collegiate level.[2]

2017–2022: Collegiate career

Coconino County Community College

Nur enrolled at Coconino County Community College in Flagstaff in 2017. He fully devoted himself to his grades and training exclusively so that he could increase his chances of being accepted into NAU. Additionally, he had to adjust to the challenges of training without a coach or team, living on his own in a new city, and college courses. Since he remained in his home state, not far from Phoenix, he knew friends in town who he would train with off-campus. The cross country coach at NAU, Michael Smith, kept in contact with Nur and would check in along the way to see how Nur was progressing in his efforts to run for NAU.[4]

Given Flagstaff's small population and size, Nur inevitably encountered athletes from the NAU team on his long runs on trails or road loops. He looked at them in complete astonishment and amazement as they passed him with utter ease. Expectedly, it led him to cast some doubt upon himself and his abilities. He questioned if he could be a part of NAU, run with the squad, or make their team. It would be difficult enough for him just to be added to the roster, let alone finish in the top seven. Despite Nur's attempts to meet the NCAA standards, he was deemed a non-qualifier for yet another year in the spring of 2018. As disappointed as he may have been, waiting to achieve his goals, he appreciated that the two years he had off taught him to maintain his focus and continue to chase his dreams harder than before.[4]

Northern Arizona University

It was not until the summer of 2019 that he finally raised up his grades and qualified for NAU. He reached out to Coach Mike Smith who started Nur out slowly because Smith was uncertain of what Nur could handle after a two-year break. By this point, Nur was more than ready and gravitated toward the top runners like his teammate Luis Grijalva who acted as his training partner and mentor. They pushed and motivated each other to do their best, becoming close friends as well in the process. Nur would run 80 to 90 miles a week and Grijalva would run 90 to 100 miles a week. Nur surprised himself during one particular workout where he found himself next to Grijalva's shoulder at the end of the session. He boosted confidence in himself and believed that he may be able to place in the top seven at competitions after all if he can keep up with Grijalva.[4]

Competition record

International Competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  United States
2022 World Championships Eugene, United States 11th 5000 m 13:18.05
2023 World Championships Budapest, Hungary 12th 5000 m 13:23.90

National Championships

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing Nike
2021 USA Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon DNF 10000 m N/A
2022 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 3rd 5000 m 13:08.63
USA Road 5 km Championships New York City, New York 1st 5 km 13:24
2023 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Eugene, Oregon 1st 5000 m 13:24.37
2024 USA Olympic Trials Eugene, Oregon 2nd 5000 m 13:09.01

NCAA and Big Sky Championships

Representing the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
Year Competition Position Event Time
2019 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships 33rd 10,000 m 31:14.0
2020 Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships 1st 3000 m 8:17.30
1st 5000 m 14:29.83
NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships[5] All-American 5000 m Cancelled by COVID-19
Big Sky Cross Country Championships 1st 8000 m 23:55.6
NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships 7th 10,000 m 30:05.3
2021 Big Sky Outdoor Track and Field Championships 5th 1500 m 3:48.20
1st 5000 m 14:09.20
NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships 3rd 10,000 m 27:42.73
Big Sky Cross Country Championships 4th 8000 m 23:21.6
NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships 7th 10,000 m 28:52.9
2022 Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships 1st Mile 4:03.98
1st DMR 9:50.86
NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships 1st 3000 m 7:59.88
1st 5000 m 13:19.01
Big Sky Outdoor Track and Field Championships 1st 1500 m 3:43.55
4th 5000 m 14:10.90
NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships 3rd 10,000 m 28:14.51



Year AIA Cross Country
Division I State Championship
AIA Outdoor Track and Field
Division I State Championship
2016–17 15:49.0
3200 m
1600 m
2015–16 DNQ DNQ



  1. ^ Abdihamid Nur at World Athletics
  2. ^ a b c d e Rodgers, Thomas (November 2, 2019). "The story of Abdihamid Nur". The Lumberjack. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Graham, Pat (August 24, 2023). "Winding road takes runner Abdihamid Nur from Somalia to the starting line at worlds for the US". AP News. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  4. ^ a b c "DyeStat.com – News – Altitude & Elevation – Abdihamid Nur's Ascent At Northern Arizona". www.runnerspace.com. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  5. ^ 2020 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships start lists NCAA
  6. ^ Abdihamid Nur Northern Arizona University results Cross Country and Track TFRRS
  7. ^ Abdihamid Nur Track & Field Bio North High School in Phoenix, Arizona Athletic.net