Friday, May 20, 2011

Wanjiru in the eyes of a reporter

Details of the incident are still filtering out, and I won’t offer any speculation except to suggest that youthful fame and fortune are never simply a single-edged blade carving happiness from a rough-hewn upbringing of need and want.

Wanjiru was a passionate racer, and evidently he carried that passion into his every day dealings to tragic end. What I knew of the great champion came only from the vantage point of a reporter, one fortunate enough to be up close for what was his final marathon and one of the greatest marathon performances ever, his victory in the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Watching from the lead motorcycle side car while calling the race for television, I got to witness from scant meters away the stirring final miles’ duel between Sammy and his great Ethiopian rival Tsegay Kebede.