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July 4 Update: Kitwara Has Won Peachtree

By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Kenyans Sammy Kitwara and Lineth Chepkururi not only won their first Atlanta Journal Constitution Peachtree Road Races today, but will share in the $35,000 Professional Road Running Organization (PRRO) bonus.  This means each athlete will take away $32,500 in prize money and bonuses from the Peachtree, America's largest 10-K.

According to a story posted to the website of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kitwara clocked 27:21, the fastest winning time at Peachtree since Kenyan Joseph Kimani set the course record of 27:04 in 1996.  It was Kitwara's first appearance at Peachtree, and his fifth consecutive road racing victory.  Chepkurui's finish time was not reported.

The PRRO bonus was available to any athlete who won one of the previous PRRO circuit races in the 2008/2009 season, and then won the Peachtree, the series final.  Kitwara won the World's Best 10-K last February and Chepkurui won both the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Miler and the Lilac Bloomsday 12-K in April and May, respectively.
(In the US Action, Abdi Abdirahman won the US crown over Anthony Famiglietti)

Sammy Kitwara - The Best Runner You've Never Heard Of
By: Weldon Johnson, LetsRun.com
July 3, 2009

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
His 2009 season has been fabulous. My fear is he may not maintain it until the World Champs, so we should take a moment to recognized his greatness in 2009 so far. (Although Kitwara is clearly focused on the World Champs. After his Kenyan nationals win he said, "winning the trials does not make one a great runner. I have yet to show my performance at the world championship.")

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?
The scary thing is Kitwara's best racing may have been in March. In his first road race of the year, he ran a 27:21 on the roads in Puerto Rico at the World's Best 10k. That is unbelievable. 27:21 on a non-flat course in the heat and wind. Unreal.

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 27, 2009 Article on Kitwara, "Kitwara's lifelong dream coming true"
*Brief Bio on Kitwara (He started out the 2008 XC Season on Fire)

June 26 Kenyan Champs 10,000m
1. Sammy Kitwara (Police) 27.44.46, 2. Gideon Ngatuny (Police) 27:44.77, 3. Bernard Kipyego (Police) 27:44.80, 4. Moses Masai (Police) 27:44.88

June 6 Kenyan Police Champs
1. Sammy Kitwara 13:41.2

May 31 Abraham Rosa International 10-K
1. Sammy Kitwara, KEN  28:32 $8000

May 17 ING Bay to Breakers
1. Sammy Kitwara, 22, KEN  33:31 CR* $40,000 (Battle of Sexes, CR bonuses)

March 14 Fortis City-Pier-City Half-Marathon
1. Sammy Kitwara, KEN  59:47 PB
2. Haile Gebrselassie, ETH  59:50

March 1st World's Best 10k
1. Sammy Kitwara, 21, KEN  27:26 CR $20,000 + 10,000i

Feb 21 Kenyan XC Trials
1. Moses Mosop  38:16.0
2. Matthew Kisorio  38:37.2
3. Mark Kiptoo  38:39.2
4. Linus Chumba  38:47.7
5. William Chebon Chebor  38:49.2
6. Mang'ata Ndiwa  38:52.2
7. Sammy Kitwara  38:52.6

January 31 Kenya Police XC
1. Joel Kimurer Kemboi (Guest)  38:49.2
2. Sammy Kitwara (GSU)  38:50.7

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