Tribute To Wanjiru: A fallen legend, a true son of Kenya by ATHLETICS KENYA
Athletics Kenya (AK) is still shocked and saddened following the untimely demise of one of Kenya’s most successful runners “Samuel Kamau Wanjiru. A gifted and talented roadrunner, Wanjiru was born on November 10, 1986. At the time of his death, 24-years-old Wanjiru had excelled beyond many people’s expectations in the athletics world. AK remembers with nostalgia him kissing the tartan in Beijing after clinching the Olympic marathon gold medal in a record time of 2:06:32, the first for Kenya since its appearance in the games.
Of course, anybody can make history. Only a great man like Samuel Wanjiru could write it. We will dearly miss you. Who leaves home aged 15 and expect to excel, in a foreign land? But again only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Born in Nyahururu, Wanjiru – like many of his predecessors - went to Japan on an education scholarship in 2002; to go to the Sendai Ikue High School and train as an athlete. In his spare time he trained as a mechanic for the Toyota Company, which he represented while in Japan. He emerged from Japan with a great reputation and twice broke the world half marathon record. Just aged 18 years, Wanjiru set his first world record with a 59 minute and 16 seconds at the Rotterdam Half-marathon.
Wanjiru showed his credentials when he ran 58:53 at Ras al Khaimah Half Marathon in United Arab Emirates in February 2007. That was not all; he went on to post a new world record of 58:33 at Den Haag half marathon in The Hague just a month later. He has only lost twice in seven marathon attempts, partly due to injury. From his debut in Fukuoka Marathon where he set a new course record of 2:06:39 to big city marathons of Chicago and London, Wanjiru’s triumph was premeditated.
AK remembers his coronation in Beijing Games in 2008 where he clinched gold. That performance still resonates in our mind because Kenya National anthem was the last to be played on the grand arena, just before the closing ceremony.
Wanjiru remains the solitary athlete to have won the World Marathon Majors (WMM) crown twice in a row exalting him to a new legendary status, where many great runners only dreamt of. Rest in PeaceWanjiru.
A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark Samuel Kamau
By ATHLETICS KENYA