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What Happened To James Kwambai?

The man who "could win the race on one leg" couldn't make it through the 24th mile after appearing to be ready to pounce on the lead.

November 4, 2009

One of today's most interesting LetsRun.com emails came from Columbia senior David Roche. Roche was standing in mile 23 of the ING NYC Marathon when 2:04:27 marathoner James Kwambai stopped running and started walking. As Roche described it, the pre-race favorite Kwambai was vigorously rubbing his stomach and had a pained look on his face.

Roche, camera in hand, gave Kwambai some water. The Kenyan thanked him and Roche patted him on the back as he walked on. According to race splits Kwambai covered that mile in over 17:00 before being taken to a hospital. according to his coach Dr. Daniele Rosa in this excellent NY Times article.

If Kwambai had been full steam, perhaps Meb would not have been able to keep up and the US wouldn't have been able to celebrate a big victory (and erupt in debate and arguing). When we hear more about why Kwambai had to stop, we'll let you know.

Roche snapped three photos of Kwambai:


Roche has a blog at MyDuathlonBlog.blogspot.com.

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