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Born to Run

SEAN P. FLYNN, For the Herald-Journal
Published November 9, 2006

Henry Wanyoike has the scars all over his hands to prove the number of times he's fallen on the race course.

They are a sign of the obstacles he has had to overcome to become one of the world's best blind runners.

"I fell many, many times," Wanyoike said Wednesday at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind, where he spoke to many of the school's 70 blind students and met the national championship goalball team. "But I never stopped. I continued running."

Eleven years after a stroke stripped him of his vision, the 32-year-old Wanyoike is arguably the world's best visually impaired runner. He owns the world record among blind runners in the marathon (2 hours, 31 minutes, 31 seconds, at the 2005 Hamburg Marathon), and he has even been the overall winner in several major races, including the Singapore Half-Marathon last December and the Wetzlar Half-Marathon in Sept. 2005.

Wany<yoike new york
With the help of his childhood friend Joseph Kibunja, who is his guide runner for all of his races, Wanyoike finished last Sunday's New York Marathon in 2:40:14 -- 133rd overall and more than 19 minutes ahead of famed cyclist Lance Armstrong.

When he is not racing or training, he works for several charities, including Christian Blind Mission International, whose American offices are based in Greenville. CBMI helped Wanyoike when he went blind, and the group helped him back into running.

CMBI and the Walker Foundation, the private funding arm for SCSDB, brought Wanyoike to speak at the school.

"This is someone who has a disability, but he's also a winner" said Heather Patchett, the Walker Foundation's executive director. "That's what I want our kids to know about."

Wanyoike grew up in Kenya and dreamed of becoming a champion runner, but in 1995 he woke up one morning about 95 percent blind. A stroke had ruined his optic nerves and within a few years he would be completely blind.

He gave up running and became depressed, worried that he would end up on the streets, as is the case for many disabled people in Kenya. But one of CMBI's doctors suggested he could indeed run again, with the help of a guide, and in 1999 he started training again.

In 2000, he won the 5,000-meter race at the Sydney Paralympics. He enlisted Kibunja to help him in 2002, and by 2004 he was among the world's elite runners.

"When I lost my sight, I was worried, I was frustrated, I was depressed," Wanyoike said. "But after meeting people with CBMI in Kenya … (I found out) there was something I could do, a rehabilitation center. I saw other people could make it, so I said, 'What about myself?'"

Westley Campbell, an SCSDB senior and the MVP of the national goal-ball championships, said that meeting someone as successful as Wanyoike meant a lot.

"I've never really seen anyone who's blind who has done as much as he's done and been as far as he's been," Campbell said. "I hope to do the same thing in goal ball, and make it to the Paralympics in China in 2008."

Henry Wanyoike honored by the United Nation

He will be the star attraction at Nairobi marathon

Blind athlete Henry Wanyoike, honoured by the United Nations as a role model, is expected to be the star attraction during the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon on Sunday.

Wanyoike said he was running for a top 10 position in his bid to raise money for the Kikuyu Christian Blind Mission Hospital.

The number of registered runners has swelled to 5,000 with four days to go.

Organisers are hoping to to attract over 15,000 runners including over 150 from 32 countries vying for points in the Greatest Race on Earth series.



Help Henry Run

Sponsor: Christian Blind Mission International
Meet Henry Wanyoike. His story begins in Kenya – where he was being groomed to join an elite team of runners. But in 1995, he had a stroke that left him blind.

Rather than surrendering to his condition, Henry entered a program for the blind, supported by Christian Blind Mission International (CBMI). There he received enough support and training to help him become self-sufficient, without his sight.

What's more, Henry began to run again. With the help of a guide runner, he quickly established himself as a world-class non-sighted runner, earning a spot on the Kenyan national squad in the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.

Now Henry is running again - this time to raise awareness and support for a cause dear to his heart – the Christian Blind Mission International's (CBMI) 100,000 Miracles campaign.

The 100,000 Miracles Campaign seeks to help the 17 million people who are blind because of cataracts. Eighty-five percent of these people live with blindness because they can't afford the simple operation to help them see again. CBMI's goal is to see 100,000 cataract surgeries performed in 100 days.

You can help Henry set a new world record for visually impaired runners and raise awareness about CBMI's 100,000 Miracles campaign.

Sign below with a message of your choice to support Henry in this courageous effort! Your name and comment will be delivered directly to Henry through CBMI.

More about this petition »


Coastweek - - Joana Zimmer, the famous blind German singer will be visiting various programmes for disabled people in Kenya from 10th to 18th of September and will stage a charity concert in Mombasa.

This will be her first official tour as a "Good will ambassador" for the "Christian Blind Mission".

She stated "It is my desire to support the objectives of this organisation as a Good Will ambassador".

The 22-year old blind singer who impresses with her captivating voice is aware that there are many blind people who need support.

"Since I understand the challenges blind people face, it is my desire to partner with the mission and I am really looking forward to visit the projects in Kenya".

The focus of her tour will be Mombasa and Kikuyu.

At the Coast she will be visiting the Bombolulu workshops and the children Rehabilitation Clinic at Port Reitz.

Apart from the workshops where disabled people produce unique crafts she will also visit blind people who run their own business. Joana Zimmer will stage a charity concert at the Whitesands Hotel on Wednesday 13th September in conjunction with the Bombolulu cultural and fashion show.

Proceeds will go towards surgery of disabled children.

In Kikuyu near Nairobi Joana Zimmer will meet another "Good Will ambassador" of the Mission, Henry Wanyoike, the worlds fastest blind marathon runner.

The "Christian Blind Mission" supports the Kikuyu Eye Hospital and a programme for children and youth with low vision.

Henry Wanyoike became blind in 1995 at the age of 21 and was rehabilitated by the Kikuyu Eye hospital.

He has meanwhile initiated three own programmes and reciprocates for the assistance he received.

Joana Zimmer and Henry Wanyoike met during a Triathlon in Germany this year and they both intend to practise together during this visit.

Tickets for the charity concert at Whitesands Hotel are available at Kshs. 3,000 incl. dinner or at Kshs. 2,000 for the concert only at Bombolulu Workshops, Whitesands Hotel and other hotels and shops.


Henry over 10.000m and 5.000m only second in Assen


Kenya won two medals as International Paralympics Committee World athletics Championships opened in Assen, Netherlands.

Francis Thuo won the first gold medal in the 10,000m and the second over 5.000m.

Thuo pulled a major upset against Kenyan top blind runner, Henry Wanyoike, in the visually impaired category T11.

Wanyoike, the defending champion and world record holder over both distances, broke away from the pack and led Thuo in lapping the other participants.

"I am very happy for my brother Thuo. I think it is time for others to take over the reigns," said Wanyoike.

However, the humbled Wanyoike vowed to be back with a bang in the 2008 Bejing Paralympic Games.

Paralympians all set for Dutch fair

Publication Date: 8/26/2006

Kenya will send a squad of 21 athletes to this year's International Paralympics Committee (IPC), World athletics Championships in Assen, Netherlands from September 2-10.

Sports Minister Maina Kamanda yesterday handed over the Kenyan flag to the team, which also has double world 5,000m and 10,000m champion Henry Wanyoike at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) Kasarani.

Kamanda challenged the team to equal or improve on their performance at the Athens Paralympics where they won seven gold medals. The team which has been training at Kasarani is expected to jet out on Monday aboard a Kenya Airways flight to Amsterdam.

Douglas Sidialo, who will be heading the Kenyan contingent said the task ahead was enormous and they would do their best. He offered his gratitude to the government for its support in promoting sports for the disabled. Kamanda said his ministry had spent Sh4.4 million to buy the team air tickets.

Wanyoike named for Laureus award

By Chris Mbaisi

Henry Wanyoike has been nominated again for the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards scheduled for May 22 in Barcelona, Spain.

Wanyoike, who is also the world paralympic 10,000m and 5,000m champion, will feature in the World Sportsperson with a Disability of the Year category.

According to the organisers, the winners of the seventh Laureus World Sports Awards as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be unveiled during a televised ceremony on May 22.

Laureus World Sports Academy is part of the Laureus World Sports Awards, whose aim is to recognise outstanding performance by sportsmen and women of different origins in the world.

The ceremony will feature world sportsman/woman of the year, world team of the year, world comeback of the year, world newcomer of the year, world sportsperson with disability and world alternative sportsperson of the year.

Henry Wanyoike is the current world 5,000m and 10,000m record for the blind. He runs with Joseph Kibunja, who is his guide. Wanyoike, who became blind at 19, has won two paralympic gold medals.

6th World Conference on Sport and Environment: Tree Planting

A battery of current and former sports stars are expected to congregate in Nairobi over the next few days for the sixth International Olympic Committee World Conference on Sport and Environment.

The three-day conference begins at 4 pm today at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) in Gigiri, Nairobi, and will be officially opened by President Mwai Kibaki, organisers said yesterday.

World 5,000m and 10,000m record holder and four-time World Cross Country double champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia and Morocco's 1,500m world record holder and Olympic 1,500m and 5,000m champion Hicham El Guerrouj are amongst the star-studded list of VIP athletes.

They are joined by former Africa Footballer of the Year Roger Milla, easily remembered for his 1990 World Cup exploits with Cameroon, and former Olympic sprints great Frankie Fredericks of Namibia.

Ethiopia's Athens Olympics 10,000 and 5,000 metres gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba is also on the roster. Fredericks arrived yesterday while Bekele and Dibaba are due in today.

The conference has been organised by the IOC in partnership with Unep to analyse progress made in sport and environment. Participants drawn from all over the world will discuss ideas on how sports can be used to aid development.

The conference is expected to outline priority issues on sport and environment over the next two years. The Nairobi edition follows a similar one held in Turin, Italy, in December 2003.

Presentations will be made by Environment Minister Kalonzo Musyoka, Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai and Sports Minister Achillo Ayacko.

Other speakers at the conference are Unep executive director Klaus Toepfer, IOC vice-president Gunilla Lindberg and the chairman of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission, Pal Schmitt.

The athletes will also engage in the "Relay for Life" run on Saturday starting in Kibera and ending at Sadili Oval Sports Club in Langata.

Kenyan athletes at the conference will include Susan Chepkemei, who finished second in last weekend's New York Marathon, Isabella Ochichi, Henry Wanyoike, Tegla Loroupe, Richard Limo, Ezekiel Kemboi, Eliud Kipchoge and Wilfred Bungei. Others are John Kibowen, Brimin Kipruto, Margaret Okayo and Charles Kamathi.

Henry Wanyoike raised money in Mumbai

Henry Wanyoike ran his first marathon in Mumbai on Jan. 15th and helped raise US$42,000 towards charity in Mumbai. He finished in 2:52 because of the of the prevailing weather conditions. Henry: "It was the hardest run I ever done, because it was hot, very humid and much polution in the air"

As the Goodwill ambassador for the Seeing is Believing section in the Standard Chartered races, Wanyoike said they have already assisted 600 people regain sight and they are targeting 1 million by next year.


Henry Wanyoike and Joseph Kibunja wins the halfmarathon in Singapore


Bangkok/Racing towards VICTORY

World track champion and Olympic gold medallist Henry Wanyoike and his childhood friend and fellow runner Josef Kibunja pose with Thai runners and sports officials during their visit to Bangkok recently. Blind marathon runner Henry Wanyoike from Kenya may have lost his sight, but his vision remains strong... read more



Palma de Mallorca

On Sunday the island capital provided the perfect backdrop for the second running of the “world’s most beautiful island marathon”. 2,951 runners from more than 30 countries went to the start, 1,129 for the marathon and around 1,510 for the half-marathon.

At 9.30 hrs Dr. Michael Frenzel fired the starting gun for a run under ideal climatic conditions: 19 degrees, slightly cloudy. The Executive Board Chairman of TUI AG was impressed by the enthusiasm displayed by the runners and the spectators along the route: “The distinct increase in the number of participants and the enthusiasm of the runners shows we are on the right course with the TUI Marathon. Our aim is to establish the marathon over the next few years as a major event in the international running calendar and also to offer further attractive sports events to all of Majorca’s visitors in the coming years.”

Majorcan wins the marathon
Vicente Ogazón Mari from El Arenal was the first to cross the finishing line in a time of 2:36:24, followed by Marc Jörgens from Wermelskirchen / Germany (2:39:12) and another Majorcan, Juan Rodriguez Fernandez (2:41:15) from Palma.

The first three runners to cross the line in the women’s competition were from Germany. Susanne Zettel from Forchheim achieved the best result, with a time of 3:02:05. Second home was Sibylle Stäbler from Echterdingen. Her time: 3:14:27. Third place was taken by Katrin Vogler, also from Echterdingen, in a time of 3:15:54.

The blind marathon runner Henry Wanyoike, gold medal winner at the Paralympics, was guided to the finish by German runner Hannes Schmidt after his coach had had to drop out of the race. A sensation was created by the “King of Majorca”, hit singer Jürgen Drews, who completed the full course in 5:09:54, receiving a rapturous reception from his fans on the Playa de Palma. And Antonia from Tirol was also present at the sporting autumn highlight on the Balearic island.

Changed route
The start and finish of the marathon were located in the harbour area below La Seu Cathedral, the symbol of Palma city. After the first third of the course along the harbour the participants enjoyed a panoramic run through the narrow streets of the historic old city with all its interesting sights. The marathon route went as far as Balneario 6 and from there back to the centre of Palma city, following a course along the seafront. Majorcan bands and music groups from the Caribbean and Kenya encouraged the runners along the route and entertained the spectators. In the finish area visitors and residents of Palma city jointly celebrated a Spanish party organised by TUI to round things off, with lots of Spanish music, children’s entertainment and walking acts.

3rd International TUI Marathon Palma de Mallorca
Following the success of the event this year, TUI has already fixed the date for the third marathon on the Balearic island: The 3rd International TUI Marathon Palma de Mallorca will take place on 22 October 2006.

No disappointment after not getting the Laureusaward.

Henry this time did not get the Laureus however Henry and Joseph had a few beautiful days in Estoril. Henry enjoyed the contact with many prominents. He made the night of the award the day: He sang and danced with the other guests in the early morning. He hopes for the next year in Berlin. After his successes in London, Hamburg and Hanover the chances for renewed nominating are very good.


Sensationally third place in the halfmarathon

With the Spielbankenmarathon in Hanover Henry started in the halfmarathon with approx. 4,500 participants. Henry became third with a time of 1:11:26. He stayed thereby only approx. 1 minute behind its own world record.




The miracle of London and Hamburg

On April, 17th Henry Wanyoike started in London. It should be the preparation to Hamburg Marathon. After the planned halfmarathondistance Henry and Joseph decided to go through, because both were in a good condition. They endet the Marathon with world record time (2:32:51). To sceptical questions in Hamburg, where the world record attempt should take place as agreed, Henry answered: "London was only training for the world record attempt and we aims at a time around 2:30:00." In Hamburg both put a time of 2:31:31 down. Thus they were star in Hamburg. Over the Marathondistanz probably still no world record was improved within 8 days two times by a runner.




April, 19th2005 the friendshipclub "henry4gold" was foundet


Laureus - Logo


Henry Wanyoike

nominated for the





Start in Hamburg and Hanover

World-class sports star: Henry Wanyoike is one of the very special participants in this years Olympus Marathon Hamburg (April 24) and Spielbanken-Marathon in Hannover (May 8).


The blind Kenyan runner already set a world record in Athens in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, and now will challenge the full marathon in Hamburg and the half marathon in Hannover. In May 2004 Wanyoike set a world record for visually challenged in Boston with a time of 2:33:20- an accomplishment worthy of a fame not only in the light athletics. He holds the half-marathon world record since Hong Kong 2004.

Henry and his guide Joseph are excited about their nomination for the Laureus-Award


However, Wanyoike was not only nominated as candidate for world athlete in Portugal on May 16 due to his physical achievements, but also for what his name stands for. He is conected with various charity organizations including the Christoffel Blindenmission, Bensheim, and „Light for the World.“ Wanyoike travels in various countries and „runs in“ donations. The humble, joyfull man and athlete from Kenya wants to give those who are handicapped courage, „my determination and love for my family gave me the power to achieve something out-of-the-ordinary.“ Wanyoikes participation in the marathon weekend in Hamburg is more than just an athletic highlight.

training for the new world record takes him through the wildlife







Henry is 34th of more than 6000 participants after 42,195 km





Henry Wanyoike (right) and Joseph Kibunya arrive at the finish-line at the Hongkong marathon on February 27. Together they „ran-in“ 80,000 euro for the fund "Seeing is Believing" in 4 Marathon-Events of the Standard Chartered Bank.
The Standard Chartered Bank donated $1000 for every kilometer Wanyoike ran to help visually challenged worldwide. His time in Hongkong of 2:34:21 was barely above that of his world record time of 2:33:20




Henry 15th among all participants in India!

Henry is back in Kenya. The short trip to India was very successful for Henry. It improved the time of the Singapore halfmarathon by 4 minutes. He finisht as 15th among all participants with the time of 1 hour and 13:27 minutes.




Kenya: Vice-president honours Athlets

The Kenyan vice-president Moody Awori honoured athlets from his country, which furnished special achievements in this year. Under the distinguishing among other things obstacle olympia winners were Ezekiel Kemboi and also the double paralympics winner Henry Wanyoike.

wanyoike vize president
Vice-president Moody Awori congratulates Henry to great successes. As acknowledgment Henry for each of the two gold medals received a LCD television.


HENRY WANYOIKE started on 5 December with the Singapore half Marathon

Henry occupied sensational 4. Place

Josef Kibunja and Henry Wanyoike

In Singapore half Marathon over 21 km participated over 2000 runners from all world. Henry Wanyoike occupied among the seeing athlets sensational 4. Place and came only 5 minutes after the winner Noce Matital from Indonesia into the goal. Athens 2004Henry`s guide Josef Kibunja is led in the result list as the 5. with the same time (1:16:53).


|Starting side|




Mein langer Lauf ins Licht

The fastest blind man in the world tells the amazing story of his life.
Published by Bengt Pflughaupt

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Licht für die Welt