Stephen Sambu’s Journey In America

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Nov. 16, 2010

The Kenyan runner had never used a washing machine before.

When University of Arizona cross-country standout Stephen Sambu moved from his home in Kenya to attend college in the United States, he needed some help from fellow Kenyan runners like Paul Tanui. “I adjusted very quickly because I was with some guys and they helped me a lot,” Sambu said. “They showed me things to do. If I was alone it would be very hard.”

It was Tanui who showed Sambu how to use a washing machine–something he’d never experienced.

Sambu is Arizona’s top runner. This past weekend, he took second place in the West Regional Cross-Country Championships, earning him a spot in the NCAA championship meet next week. Sambu has been the lone bright spot during a rebuilding year for Arizona’s men’s cross-country team. He and his coaches expect him to garner a top-1o finish.

“I feel like he is one of the best runners in the nation,” said head coach James Li.

According to assistant coach Erin Dawson, “The guy is just a stud.”

Sambu has not been back to Kenya since he left in 2008, but plans to go back to visit in December of 2011.

For More: Arizona Daily Wildcat

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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