Samuel Kamau Wanjiru

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Samuel Kamau Wanjiru crossing the finish line of the marathon of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing
Wanjiru at the 2007 world record run in The Hague
Wanjiru (right) ahead of Tsegay Kebede in the finals of the 2009 London Marathon

Samuel Wanjiru (also Sammy Wanjiru * 10. November 1986 in Nyahururu , † 15. May 2011 ) was a Kenyan athlete and Olympic champion in the marathon .


In 2003, the long-distance runner came to Japan , where he was accepted at Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School in Sendai because of his running talent and successfully participated in Ekiden competitions. In 2005 he graduated from school there.

In the same year he won the Sendai half marathon in 59:43  minutes and set the current junior world record in the 10,000-meter run on August 26 in Brussels with 26: 41.75 minutes . Shortly afterwards he broke Paul Tergat's seven-year-old world record (59:17 min) in the Rotterdam half marathon with 59:16 min .

After a relatively unsuccessful year in 2006, on February 9, 2007, at the RAK half marathon with 58:53 minutes, he won back the world record that Haile Gebrselassie had snatched from him the year before with 58:55 minutes. On March 17, 2007, he ran the 21.1 kilometers at the CPC Loop The Hague in 58:33 minutes, improving his record time by another 18 seconds - and at the same time setting the old world record with his 20-kilometer split time (55:31 minutes) from Gebrselassie over this distance (55:48 min).

A malaria disease infection threw it back soon thereafter. He renounced a start at the World Athletics Championships in 2007 and only came in 51st place at the 2007 Road Running World Championships in Udine.

When he made his debut on the marathon route in December 2007, he was in top form again: at the Fukuoka Marathon , he set a course record of 2:06:39  hours . At the London Marathon 2008 he was second behind his compatriot Martin Kiptoo Lel in 2:05:24 h. He was then nominated for the 2008 Olympic Games marathon by the Kenyan Athletics Federation.

In Beijing, despite the warm weather, he managed to keep the same pace as in his previous marathons. At km 37 he shook off his last pursuer, the two-time world champion Jaouad Gharib . At 2:06:32 h, Wanjiru stayed almost three minutes below the Olympic record set by Carlos Lopes in 1984 and became the first Kenyan Olympic marathon champion.

In 2009 he set course records in both the London Marathon (2:05:10 h) and the Chicago Marathon (2:05:41 h). He also secured overall victory in the 2008/09 series of the World Marathon Majors .

In 2010 he finished second in the Mardi Gras Marathon half marathon , beaten by Lel. At the London Marathon, he gave up after 27 kilometers due to knee pain. In the fall he managed to defend his title in Chicago, where he prevailed in a dramatic finish against the London winner Tsegay Kebede .

Samuel Kamau Wanjiru was 1.63 m tall and weighed 52 kg. Until 2008 he started for the athletics team of Toyota Motor Kyushu (a based in Kyushu wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota ), where he was trained by Kōichi Morishita , the winner of the silver medal in the 1992 Olympic marathon. His manager was Federico Rosa. Wanjiru's cousin Joseph Muriithi Riri is also a world class marathon runner.

On May 15, 2011, after a violent argument with his wife, he fell from the balcony of his apartment and sustained a fractured skull and other serious injuries, from which he died shortly after being admitted to the hospital. According to the Kenyan police, it was a suicide . The exact circumstances of his death are still unclear despite an autopsy. His mother Hanna Wanjiru assumes a murder and invokes one of the autopsy pathologists, who attributes the death to a serious head injury that was inflicted with a blunt object. There is no official result of the investigation.

Wanjiru was married to the Kenyan singer Triza Njeri until his death. This reported him in December 2010 for attempted murder, but later withdrew the report. He is said to have threatened her and his bodyguard with a Kalashnikov during an argument . His wife later withdrew that complaint but filed for divorce. Most recently, he was investigated for illegal possession of weapons. A trial was imminent.

Personal bests

Web links

Commons : Samuel Kamau Wanjiru  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files


  1. ^ IAAF: Wanjiru - From Kenya to the World via Japan ( Memento of March 16, 2006 in the Internet Archive ). March 16, 2006
  2. ^ IAAF: Wanjiru wins Sendai Half in 59:43 ( Memento of July 14, 2005 in the Internet Archive ). July 12, 2005
  3. ^ IAAF: Wanjiru betters World Half Marathon record with 59:16 in Rotterdam . September 11, 2005
  4. IAAF: 58:53 Half Marathon World Record by Wanjiru in Ras al Khaimah ( Memento of February 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). February 9, 2007
  5. German Road Races : Wanjiru breaks Gebrselassie's half marathon world record ( memento of the original from October 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . February 10, 2007
  6. IAAF: Wanjiru again! World records broken in Half Marathon and 20 km in The Hague ( Memento from March 20, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). March 17, 2007
  7. IAAF: 2:06:39 debut victory for Wanjiru in Fukuoka ( Memento of March 3, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). December 2, 2007
  8. Runner's World : Elite Marathon in Fukuoka - Sammy Wanjiru makes high-class debut . December 3, 2007
  9. ^ IAAF: Kenyan selects high status squad to seek elusive Olympic gold in Beijing ( Memento of April 30, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). April 23, 2008
  10. ^ IAAF: Reports: Men's Marathon ( Memento from August 25, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). August 24, 2008
  11. ^ IAAF: Overcoming tumultuous year, Wanjiru takes first Kenyan Olympic marathon victory ( Memento from August 25, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). August 24, 2008
  12. ^ Daily Nation: How I won marathon gold medal, by Samuel Wanjiru . August 24, 2008
  13. ^ IAAF: Wanjiru takes Lel's course record while Mikitenko wins again in London ( Memento of May 3, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). April 26, 2009
  14. ^ IAAF: 2:05:41 course record for Wanjiru while Shobukhova surprises in Chicago . October 11, 2009
  15. ^ IAAF: At 22, Wanjiru already a legend in the making ( Memento from October 15, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). October 12, 2009
  16. ^ IAAF: Adere clocks 1:07:52, Lel beats Wanjiru at New Orleans Half Marathon ( Memento of March 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ). March 1, 2010
  17. ^ IAAF: Wanjiru and Shobukhova defend titles in Chicago ( Memento of October 13, 2010 in the Internet Archive ). October 10, 2010
  18. Heavyweights Throw Down In BoA Chicago - Wanjiru Wins Epic Duel With Kebede . October 10, 2010 (with video)
  19. Japan Running News: Samuel Wanjiru Resigns From Team Toyota Kyushu . July 29, 2008
  20. Japan Running News: Toyota Kyushu Accepts Wanjiru's Resignation . August 30, 2008
  21. ^ IAAF: Wanjiru, Kenya's next marathon great? ( Memento of December 18, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). December 16, 2007
  22. a b sid : Samuel Wanjiru falls to his death. In: May 16, 2011, accessed May 17, 2011 .
  23. Michael Reinsch: Death of the Olympic marathon winner: Wonder runner and rock star . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . May 16, 2011
  24. Michael Reinsch: Sammy Wanjiru: Mother convinced of the murder of the Olympic champion . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 7, 2011
  25. Horand Knaup: Death of the marathon runner Wanjiru: "Until it boomed" . In: Spiegel Online . July 14, 2011