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July 4 Update: Kitwara Has Won Peachtree
Sammy Kitwara - The Best Runner You've Never Heard Of
One of the problems with our sport is that many of the top stars are viewed as nameless Africans. Racism, nationalism, whatever the reason does not matter, the problem is real.
We wanted to take a moment out to point out how great a season Kenya's Sammy Kitwara is having. I'm sure most of you have never heard of this guy. To be honest, if you had taken me aside before today and said, "Sammy Kitwara," I probably would have said, "the name sounds familiar; I think he's on the Kenyan team for the World Champs." (although we did talk about him in our Mach 16 Week in Review)
That does not give him the props he deserves.
Unstoppable In 2009 With Wins Over Gebrselassie, Nearly $100,000 In Prize Money
So far he's won $78,000 in official money on the roads and that doesn't include a victory over Haile Gebrselassie. That should be worth at least $20,000.
On Sunday at the Peachtree Roadrace, if he wins, he'll get $32,500 and possibly $50,000 (there is a $35,000 bonus he may have to split with the women's winner).
His prize money is not what is most impressive about his 2009. In addition to his big money wins, he just last week won the Kenyan track trials for 10,000m.
Was His Best Racing In March?
He followed that up with his win over Gebrselassie and he hasn't been beaten since. (He did start out with a couple of losses in cross-country).
Fortunately, our friend Dennis Kaspori, whom we like to say is the Dutch LetsRun.com, often interviews the top African stars and makes them come to life. (Anyone remember the interview we posted with Duncan Kibet, an unknown marathoner, that we posted the day before he ran a stunning 2:04:27 (video on right)?).
He talked to Kitwara before and after his win over Gebrselassie and you can even see the interview and the finish of the race in the video below. Kitwara talks about dropping Gebrselassie the last 400, "In my mind, I was (thinking) am I (really) leaving this guy (Haile Gebrselassie) behind?"
That race was, according to Kitwara's manager, his 7th straight road win in a row. There is a humorous part in the interview where they joke that Kitwara purposely lost the Kenyan XC Trials so he wouldn't have to go train in the Kenyan camp for the World Champs.
Interview and 2009 Results for Kitwara below:
June 26 Kenyan Champs 10,000m
June 6 Kenyan Police Champs
May 31 Abraham Rosa International 10-K
May 17 ING Bay to Breakers
March 14 Fortis City-Pier-City Half-Marathon
March 1st World's Best 10k
Feb 21 Kenyan XC Trials
January 31 Kenya Police XC