It is with great sadness that we read of the death of 2008 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist, Sammy Wanjiru. At 24 years of age, he was one of the greatest marathon RACERS of all time. Details of the death are sketchy at this time, but given the roughness of the last six months of Sammy’s life, anything is possible and frankly, I don’t want to know.
I remember Sammy running away with the Beijing marathon with the confidence of a veteran in the body of a 21 year old. He was faster than everyone that day and grabbed the field, as well as the heat and humidity by the scruff of the neck and didn’t let go.
Maybe his greatest moment, at least for me, was in Chicago last year. His epic battle over the last couple of miles with Tsegeye Kebede was incredible. As Toni Reavis said during the broadcast, “what balls this guy’s got.”
Sammy was one of my favorite runners. So fast, so strong, so willing to take a race to the edge. Maybe I liked Sammy so much because he seemed like a Kenyan Pre. Young, fast, a bit brash but with the amazing talent to back it up.
I was hoping that Sammy’s life would come back together this year and enable him to be ready for the 2012 marathon in London. Sad that not only will that never happen, the world will be without one of the greatest running talents of all time. Rest In Peace, Sammy Wanjiru.
Here is the link to that amazing Chicago finish. http://www.flotrack.org/speaker/8874-Sammy-Wanjiru/video