Olympic Stories

Sammy Korir

Sammy Korir

Sammy Korir is a long distance runner from Kenya. He was born 12th December 1971. His most notable achievement was in 2008 when he became the first male runner to run ten marathons in under 2 hours and 9 minutes, when he completed the Dubai Marathon.

The description that has haunted Korir ever since he ran in Berlin in 2003 (when he achieved his personal best) is the ‘fastest non-winning marathon runner in history’. He is a member of the same training group as Paul Tergat.

Korir’s athletic running career began in 1996 aged 24. His first race was the Rotterdam Marathon on the Netherlands where he came 3rd with a time of 2:08:02. His next race was just three days after his 25th birthday the same year, when he took part in the Cancún Marathon and won, after running it at 2:12:33. Two years later he ran at the Amsterdam Marathon taking another 1st place and finishing at 2:08:13. Six months after Amsterdam he entered into the Turin Marathon in Italy taking his third consecutive win. And once more his time was impressive with 2:08:27.

In April of 2001 Korir returned to attempt the Rotterdam Marathon once more, but failed to improve as he finished 12 seconds slower than his first attempt and again finishing in third place. He did win his next two races however, the Beppu-Oita Marathon in Japan and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego, California both in 2002. His times were 2:11:45 and 2:09:02 consecutively.

Later in 2002 in the October, Korir returned to the Amsterdam Marathon but came only 5th with a time of 2:08:10, which was one of his better times. This was a shame as his previous run in Amsterdam saw him take 1st place, but he was not due for the title again that year. Next was the Berlin Marathon in Germany in 2003, where he took 2nd place and an astounding time of 2:04:56 – this was his best time yet but it was still not quite enough to  win the race. He began the Berlin race as a pacemaker but became stronger as the race went on, and he was only one second behind the winner when they crossed the finish line which was a real shame to see.

Korir’s first appearance in London was not until 2004, when he ran the renowned London Marathon. Once again he almost made the title but just lost it at the end and came second finishing in 2:06:49, which although was not as good as his Berlin time was still better than many of his prevous marathon times. In the Chicago Marathon of 2005 Korir came 9thmaking it his worst performance to date.

In Tokya he came 3rd in 2006, but his next two marathons saw him back on form again. Rotterdam Marathon on 2006 saw him win once again, in 2:06:38 followed by Seoul International Marathon in 2008, when he took 1st place again and finished in 2:07:32.

Career Highlights

  • 2008 Seoul International Marathon – 1st
  • 2006 Rotterdam Marathon – 1st
  • 2002 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon – 1st
  • 1998 Amsterdam Marathon – 1st
  • 1996 Cancún Marathon – 1st

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