“He also never refused people who needed money. After a workout Wanjiru would buy 25 runners lunch, and he paid for a Nissan for use by athletes who had no other way to travel to races.
One runner named Ken Kasmili says Wanjiru began paying his son’s school fees so that Kasmili could work fewer hours and focus on training.
“Wanjiru was an economy unto himself. And almost everything he bought — cars, land, houses — was wildly overpriced. When he was in Nyahururu he frequented the pubs. His friends point out almost every large bar in town as “one of his favourite places,” and locals would text one another when they spotted him out drinking, sending the alert that it was a good time to sell. Suddenly Wanjiru, at the bar, would be buying $900 plots of land for $3,000.
He did, though, make some fruitful purchases, the American journal reported. With the help of James Mwangi, a local veterinarian who became a close friend, Wanjiru purchased a plot of land and built a dairy farm that in its prime sustained 15 cows and produced 55 gallons of milk a day. But the runner never liked to haggle with people over money, and he did not bargain at all when he was drunk.
For the Bird Nest Flats apartment complex he was building in the more prosperous town of Nakuru, “he probably spent 10 times the cost,” says Ndegwa Wahome, the lawyer who handled the paperwork for Wanjiru’s transactions.
“Some of the people working there took so much of the materials that they built their own houses.”“In front of the compound where Wanjiru was found fatally injured there is still a patch of dead grass. It’s where people pitched tent or put down blankets so they could bombard him with business opportunities whenever he came or went.
“They could talk to each other about Beijing, where Wacera won bronze in the 5,000 meters at the ‘06 world junior championships. She and Wanjiru started going to and from training together, and he didn’t mind occasionally slowing the pace of a recovery run so they could run together and talk.
“As a promising athlete, Wacera never felt the need to ask Wanjiru for money, which endeared her to Wanjiru’s mother. Wacera also did not complain about Wanjiru’s late nights out, which his friends say often included other women.
“In December 2009, Wacera and Wanjiru were married. There was an actual ceremony, which Wanjiru had not had with Tereziah Njeri, who by that time had borne Wanjiru two children.
(Having more than one wife is traditional in Kenya, albeit increasingly rare.) “I had no problem with (Njeri),” Wacera says, “but she hated me so much.” (Njeri has talked to media outlets but did not answer repeated calls from Sports Illustrated.) “Wanjiru rented a house for Wacera right between the homes of his mother and Njeri, on that same dirt road.