Kenyans celebrate the ‘birth’ of the new Wanjiru

Kenyan athlethes Daniel Wanjiru, Sammy Kitwara and Geoffrey Kiriui compete in the Amsterdam Marathon in ...
Kenyan athlethes Daniel Wanjiru, Sammy Kitwara and Geoffrey Kiriui compete in the Amsterdam Marathon in Amsterdam, on October 16, 2016. STR / ANP / AFP

Five years ago Kenyans could hardly come into terms with the shocking demise of Bejing 2008 Olympics gold medallist and record holder, Samuel Kamau Wanjiru but they are now celebrating the ‘birth’ of another marathoner ‘Wanjiru’, the freshly-minted Amsterdam king Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru.

The newest ultimate distance star in a land of many led eight of his countrymen across the line in the Dutch city in a riveting 2:03:19 course record performance that set social alight once the image of the finishing order was posted online.

Two-time Chicago runner-up Sammy Kitwara (2:05.45) and Marius Kimutai (2:05.47) rounded the podium with Laban Korir (2:05:54), Ezekiel Chebii (2:06:07), Felix Kandie(2:06:25), Geoffrey Kirui (2:06:27) and defending champion Bernard Kipyego (2:06:45) finishing in that order to complete the top-eight.

The Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, Aden Duale was among those who expressed their love and pride on micro blogging site Twitter.

“Congratulations to Daniel Wanjiru for winning the #amsterdammarathon in a new course record of 2:05:21, leading #TeamKenya to a 1-2-3 finish,” Duale wrote on his official handle, @HonAdenDuale.

“Behold, another Wanjiru is born. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you Daniel Wanjiru #amsterdammarathon winner,” Macharia Mbugua chortled on the same platform.

Others felt that there is no need to compete with Kenyans having dominated most autumn season races.

“I think we should stop marathons, Kenyans always win. It’s just like speed skating where the Dutch always won the 10km #amsterdammarathon” Rob Beekmans wrote.

Others took the opportunity to be creative with a list of interesting medals for the eight top finishers at the marathon led by local radio broadcaster Daniel Wahome.


“If these were medals, Kenya would have won gold, silver, bronze, iron, brass, wood, glass & sisal #AmsterdamMarathon,” Wahome posted in jest.

“Kenyans won everything at #AmsterdamMarathon 1-8, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Iron, Plastic, Cotton, Rubber and Brown Leather chaget (jacket). Congrats!” Jimmy Githogori chipped in.

“We scooped 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8: Gold, silver, bronze, copper, zinc, aluminum, cement, sand & soil #AmsterdamMarathon, ” Enos Olik offered as he joined in the funny memes that saw Daniel Wanjiru top Twitter trends on Sunday afternoon.

“#TeamKenya swept everything in #amsterdammarathon from Gold, Silver, Bronze, Uranium, Copper, Rubber, Wood and even nylon,” Issac Kosgei continued.

Meanwhile in Embu County where Wanjiru trains Jason Mbote the 2005 Frankfurt silver medalist led athletes in the county to celebrate little known Wanjiru for his motivational win.

Mbote an active athlete who trains alongside and coaches Wanjiru could hardly hide the joy in his voice while speaking to Citizen Digital.

“I’m very happy for Wanjiru. I can hardly believe the good news. Before Wanjiru left for his race we had been focusing on his kick and how to handle the race since he doesn’t have much experience in marathon having participated in only two races with a time of 2:08.

“Three weeks ago we did 35km, I told him to get used to the pain since when the race gets to the 35K to 38K things get hard if you had not prepared well.

“So he continued working on that and today (Sunday) when they were getting to the 38km mark they crossed it in 1:28 and I had expected pass the mark in 1:29. It was a bit fast for him, but when the pace dropped he was able to catch up with rest and ran at a comfortable pace,” Mbote analysed.

“He was against very strong and experienced strong athletes and managed to beat them. This gives me a lot of confidence and has shown that Embu County has talent and that we can also perform well,” the sixth finisher at the 2007 edition of the Amsterdam race hailed.

Coach Robert Kioni who is based in Nyahururu, Nyandarua County also joined congratulating Wanjiru who uses his training program.

“Kinyua’s performance was fantastic, especially when he was neck to neck with Kitwara. It gave me goose bumps all over. This has shown that if an athlete is disciplined and follows their training programme faithfully they will have good results.

“I only give him the training program, which he follows with other athletes in Embu. There are very many young talented athletes in Embu who are yet to be discovered,” the veteran coach told Citizen Digital.

The newest ‘Wanjiru’ on the marathon block returns home on Tuesday having established his names in the lights.


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