Wanjiru entering the stadium in his marathon victory at the 2008 Summer Olympics
|Born||10 November 1986|
|Died||15 May 2011 (aged 24)|
|Height||1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||52 kg (115 lb)|
|Event(s)||Half marathon, marathon|
|Achievements and titles|
He moved to the full marathon and won the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in an Olympic record time of 2:06:32; becoming the first Kenyan to win the Olympic gold in the marathon. He became the youngest gold medallist in the marathon since 1932. The following year, he won both the London Marathon and Chicago Marathon, running the fastest marathons ever recorded in the United Kingdom and United States, respectively. He retained his Chicago title in 2010 in a season fraught with injury.
Samuel Wanjiru was born in Nyahururu, Laikipia County, a town in the Rift Valley, about 150 kilometres (93 mi) northwest of the capital, Nairobi. and was brought up with his brother Simon Njoroge in poverty by his mother Hannah Wanjiru, daughter of Samuel Kamau. Wanjiru took his mother's given name as a surname, because she was a single mother. He dropped out of school aged about 12, because they could not afford the school fees.
Wanjiru started running at the age of 8. In 2002, he moved to Japan and went to Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School in Sendai. He had success on the Japanese cross country circuit, where he won the Fukuoka International Cross Country at sixteen years old in 2003. He went on to win in both Fukuoka and at the Chiba International Cross Country consecutively in 2004 and 2005. After graduating in 2005, he joined the Toyota Kyūshū athletics team, coached by 1992 Olympic marathon silver medalist Koichi Morishita.
Wanjiru had a 5000 m best of 13:12.40, run as a 17-year-old in April 2004 in Hiroshima, Japan. At age 18, Wanjiru broke the half marathon world record on 11 September 2005 in the Rotterdam Half Marathon with a time of 59:16 minutes, officially beating Paul Tergat's half-marathon record of 59:17 minutes.
This was preceded two weeks earlier by a bettering of the 10,000 m world junior record by a margin of almost 23 seconds in the IAAF Golden League Van Damme Memorial Race on 26 August. His WJR time of 26:41.75 was good enough for third place in the race behind Kenenisa Bekele's world record, set in the same race, of 26:17.53 and Boniface Kiprop's 26:39.77. It was Kiprop who held the previous world junior mark (27:04.00 minutes), set at the same meeting the previous year. The run saw 6 runners going under 27 minutes
World records and Olympic goldEdit
Wanjiru took back the half-marathon world record, which Haile Gebrselassie broke in early 2006, with 58:53 minutes on 9 February 2007 at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon and improved it to 58:33 on 17 March 2007 in the City-Pier-City Loop in The Hague, Netherlands. While improving his own record, he recorded an unofficial time of 55:31 for 20 km, which was faster than Haile Gebrselassie's world record but was never ratified due to the timing methods in the race.
Wanjiru made his marathon debut at Fukuoka Marathon on 2 December 2007, winning it impressively with a course record of 2:06:39. He started 2008 by winning the Zayed International Half Marathon and receiving a prize of US $300,000. In the 2008 London Marathon, he came in second, breaking 2:06 for the first time. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wanjiru won the marathon gold medal in an Olympic record time of 2:06:32, smashing the previous record of 2:09:21 set by Carlos Lopes of Portugal in the 1984 Olympics. He received the AIMS World Athlete of the Year Award that year in recognition of his performances.
London and Chicago winsEdit
At the Granollers Half Marathon in February 2008, in which Wanjiru won, the Kenyan stated his intent for the future, saying, "in five years' time I feel capable of clocking a sub 2 hours time for the marathon." In April 2009, Wanjiru won the London Marathon in a time of 2:05:10, a new personal record and also a new course record. He was pleased with the achievement and stated that he hoped to break Haile Gebrselassie's world record in the near future. At the Rotterdam Half Marathon, Wanjiru clocked a 1:01:08 on 13 September, which was won by Sammy Kitwara with a time of 58:58. In October 2009, Wanjiru won the Chicago Marathon in a time of 2:05:41, setting a new course record for the city and the fastest marathon time ever run in the United States. The wins in London and Chicago helped him reach the top of the World Marathon Majors rankings for 2009, earning him a jackpot of US$500,000.
He signed up to defend his title at the 2010 London Marathon, but he encountered knee trouble at the midway point of the race and decided to drop out to avoid further injury – the first time in six marathons that he had failed to finish. He chose to run at the 2010 Chicago Marathon in October, but a stomach virus before the race had harmed his preparations and he entered the competition with the lesser aim of reaching the top three. Tsegaye Kebede took the opportunity to forge a lead, but Wanjiru (despite a lack of peak physical form) persevered with the pace and caught up with the Ethiopian. He took the lead in the final 400 m to defend his title in Chicago with a time of 2:06:24. "It was the greatest surprise I have ever seen in my life", remarked his coach, Federico Rosa, on the performance.
Wanjiru married Mary Wacera, a fellow long-distance runner, in 2009 and the two had a child (Ann) in 2010. He had previously married Triza Njeri in a traditional ceremony and had two children, although Wanjiru and Wacera's marriage was legally binding.
Wanjiru began drinking alcohol when he moved to Japan, and it increased and became a major part of his life. Despite that, his marathoning career continued successfully, though his personal life became somewhat chaotic.
In December 2010 Wanjiru was arrested by Kenyan police at his house in Nyahururu and charged with threatening to kill his wife and illegally possessing an AK-47 rifle. He denied both the accusations and claimed that he was being framed.
Wanjiru and his wife Triza Njeri, a beautician, had a daughter Anne Wanjiru and a son Simon Njoroge. Wanjiru also had a third wife, Judy Wambui Wairimu, who was pregnant when he died and has since had a son.
On 15 May 2011, Wanjiru died from a fall off a balcony at his home in Nyahururu. Wanjiru appeared to have suffered internal injuries after the fall and was confirmed dead by doctors at a nearby hospital after attempts to revive him failed.
Police said Wanjiru's wife, Triza Njeri, had come home to find him in bed with another woman. She locked the couple in the bedroom and ran outside. Wanjiru then fell after falling from the balcony. Police are unsure if Wanjiru intended suicide or jumped out of rage, and are investigating the circumstances related to Njeri and his female companion that led to his death.
His mother claimed at an inquest into his death that her son was murdered by six men who had conspired with his widow Trizah Njeri. During the inquest at the Milimani court that sought to establish whether Wanjiru was murdered or jumped to his death, a former chief government pathologist said he was convinced that Wanjiru was hit by a blunt object after he had jumped from the balcony of his home, landing on his legs, or possibly he was pushed then struck.
|2005||Rotterdam Half Marathon||Rotterdam, Netherlands||1st||Half marathon||59:16 WR|
|2007||Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon||Ras Al Khaimah, UAE||1st||Half marathon||58:53 WR|
|City-Pier-City Half Marathon||The Hague, Netherlands||1st||Half marathon||58:33 WR|
|Fukuoka Marathon||Fukuoka, Japan||1st||Marathon||2:06:39 CR|
|2008||Summer Olympics||Beijing, China||1st||Marathon||2:06:32 OR|
|2009||London Marathon||London, United Kingdom||1st||Marathon||2:05:10 CR|
|Chicago Marathon||Chicago, United States||1st||Marathon||2:05:41 CR|
|2010||Chicago Marathon||Chicago, United States||1st||Marathon||2:06:24|
|5000 metres||13:12.40||29 April 2005||Hiroshima|
|10,000 metres||26:41.75†||26 August 2005||Brussels|
|20 kilometres||55:31‡||17 March 2007||Den Haag|
|Half marathon||58:33||17 March 2007||Den Haag|
|Marathon||2:05:10||26 April 2009||London|
Most information taken from IAAF profile.
Key: † = World junior record, ‡ = Unofficial
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- "Kenyan Olympic winner Wanjiru charged over death threat". BBC Sport. 30 December 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
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- "athletics: Samwel Wanjiru was killed, says Pathologist". sportsnewsarena.com. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- Athletes dominate Kenyan Sports Awards, IAAF, 2 March 2006.
- "Moment of glory for Wanjiru and Jelimo". Daily Nation. 23 January 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2009.
- IAAF, Wanjiru Samuel Kamau biography: Samuel Wanjiru biography
- Samuel Wanjiru at IAAF
- Focus on Athletes article from IAAF
- Samuel Kamau's Story at Peak Sports Management
- Rosa & Associati profile
- Samuel Wanjiru reviews after Rotterdam half marathon
- Samuel Wanjiru: End of the Run – slideshow by Life magazine
| Men's half marathon world record holder
11 September 2005 – 15 January 2006
9 February 2007 – 21 March 2010
| Men's Marathon Olympic Record Holder
24 August 2008 - present
Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot
| Rotterdam men's half marathon winner
| Men's half marathon best year performance
Haile Gebrselassie &
|Awards and achievements|
| Kenyan Sportsman of the Year