(With an addendum by Brian Sheriff, an old racing friend of Douglas’s)
Today is the 50th birthday of Douglas Wakiihuri, who remains one of the favorite sons of Kenyan running. Born September 26, 1963 in the seaside city of Mombasa, the Japanese-trained runner won Kenya’s first-ever World Championships gold medal in the Marathon in Rome 1987. Not until Luke Kibet won the world title in Osaka, Japan in 2007, did Douglas have company in that exclusive club. Abel Kirui then claimed entry with wins in Berlin 2009 and Daegu, South Korea in 2011.
Following his own World Championship in `87, Douglas earned the silver medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, finishing 15-seconds behind Italy’s Gelindo Bordin. The next year he won the London Marathon, and then took home the Commonwealth Games Marathon gold medal from Auckland, New Zealand in February 1990.
In this excerpt from Runners Digest Radio we listen to Douglas Wakiihuri on the eve of his win at the 1990 New York City Marathon. In this contemplative moment Douglas describes the marathon as ole Will Shakespeare might well have, if the bard had ever explored the depths of the distance as had Douglas.