Posted by: Joe English | December 2, 2007

Races: Wanjiru golden in Fukuoka Marathon debut

Sammy Wanjiru

Sammy Wanjiru lived up to expectations as he made his marathon distance debut in the Fukuoka Marathon, winning the race and setting a new course record in the process. The man that twice set the half-marathon world-record this year, showed that he has what it takes at the marathon distance as well, running a time in the 2:06s in his first attempt at the distance.

Wanjiru led an all-star cast in the race, which served as one of the Olympic qualifying races for Japan’s Olympic marathon squad. At the end of the day, Wanjiru finished the race in 2:06:39, besting the seven year-old course record of 2:06:51.

In runnning 2:06:39, Wanjiru completes the marathon in the 27th fastest time in history. Only 16 other men have run times faster. Born November 10th, 1986, Wanjiru is only 21 years old. In 2005, at age 19, he was named Kenya’s Most Promising Sportsmen of the Year.

Previously billed as a match-up between a veteran and a dubutant, former world record holder Paul Tergat withdrew from the race before-hand with concerns over an injury. Although without the help of Tergat in his debut, Wanjiru showed great patience in settling in to the pace at the longer distance. He had said before the race that his primary concern was going out too fast. He stayed patient and the nerves went away around the 30KM mark. Wanjiru made a move after the 40KM mark to move away from the only remaining runner with him, Deriba Merga of Ethopia.

Before the race, Wanjiru revealed his plan of running 2:06 in Fukuoka and then to run 2:05 in a spring Marathon, perhaps London. He thinks that is what it will take to make the Olympic Marathon team for Kenya.

Fukuoka Marathon Race Results*:
(athletes JPN unless otherwise noted)

1. Samuel Wanjiru (KEN) 2:06:39, Debut, Course Record
2. Deriba Merga (ETH) 2:06:50 PB (also under previous Course Record)
3. Atsushi Sato 2:07:13, PB
4. Yukou Matsumiya 2:09:40
5. Shigeru Aburaya 2:10:30
6. Kensuke Takahashi 2:11:52
7. Daniel Yego (KEN) 2:11:57
8. Atsushi Fujita 2:12:29
9. Naoki Mishiro 2:12:56
10. Toshinari Takaoka 2:13:40

Splits for Wanjiru*:
5Km – 15:04
10Km – 30:03 (14:59)
15Km – 45:06 (15:03)
20Km – 1:00:12 (15:06)
25Km – 1:15:05 (14:53)
30Km – 1:30:05 (15:05)
35Km – 1:44:49 (14:44)
40Km – 2:00:03 (15:14)
Finish – 2:06:39 (6:36)
*Source: IAAF

Tergat and Wanjiru to duel in Fukuoka Marathon

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon USA



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