Deriba Merga Saddened By The Loss Of Sammy Wanjiru

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published May. 17, 2011

Sammy Wanjiru (right) and Deriba Merga weren't just rivals, they were friends too. Photo: Universal Sports

The runners had competed against each other since 2007.

Though they were fierce rivals, Deriba Merga and the late Sammy Wanjiru were also very good friends. Merga, a former Boston Marathon champion from Ethiopia had battled Wanjiru, a Kenyan, in numerous races throughout the world, including the 2008 Olympic Marathon where Wanjiru won gold.

Sammy Wanjiru, 24  passed away at his home in Nyahururu, Kenya on Sunday.

“I was shocked to my core when I heard the news,” Merga said yesterday. “This is a very tragic thing that has befallen him.” Merga had been in California competing in the 100th edition of the Zazzle Bay to Breakers. “We’ve run together many times and we are very close as friends,” said Merga. He then alluded to the 2007 Fukuoka race when Wanjiru edged him out by 11 seconds. “We were together until one kilometer remained. For 41km, we ran together, and after that he beat me.”

In April of 2008 the friends and rivals competed in the London Marathon. There, Wanjiru prevailed again, taking second place, while Merga settled for sixth.

“I feel great sadness in my heart,” Merga said.

For More: Universal Sports

FILED UNDER: Boston Marathon / News TAGS: / / / / / / /

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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