Joseph Nzau

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Joseph Nzau
Personal information
Nationality Kenyan
Born (1949-04-04) April 4, 1949 (age 69)
Marsabit County, Kenya
Sport Track, Long-distance running
Event(s) 5000 metres, 10,000 metres, Marathon
College team Wyoming
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s) 5000 metres: 13:37.5[1]
10,000 metres: 28:06.63[1]
Marathon: 2:09:45[1]

Joseph Nzau (born April 14, 1949) is a Kenyan former long-distance runner who represented his country at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Nzau won the 1983 Chicago Marathon and the inaugural 1990 Belgrade Marathon.

Running career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Nzau was a late bloomer who did not take up running until the age of 25. He was subsequently recruited by the University of Wyoming on an athletic scholarship when he was 28, along with a few other Kenyans.


Nzau attended the University of Wyoming under the tutelage of Coach Ron Jones in the late 1970s. He also won the Bix 7; Davenport, Iowa, in 1983, 7 miles in a time of 33:10. At the 1979 NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships, he finished in fifth place.[2] At Wyoming Nzau earned six All-American honors and was inducted into the university's athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.[3]


In 1983, Nzau was the first Kenyan to win in a world-class 26-miler, when the US-based runner won the 1983 edition of the Chicago Marathon. A year later, Nzau finished 7th overall in the men's marathon at the 1984 Summer Olympics. In addition to the marathon, Nzau finished 14th of 16 finishers in the men's 10,000 metres at the same competition. In 1990, Nzau won the inaugural Belgrade Marathon.


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Kenya
1982 Chicago Marathon Chicago, United States 2nd Marathon 2:11:40
1983 Chicago Marathon Chicago, United States 1st Marathon 2:09:44
1984 Los Angeles Marathon Los Angeles, United States 2nd Marathon 2:10:40
Olympic Games Los Angeles, United States 14th 10,000 m 28:32.57
7th Marathon 2:11:28
1990 Belgrade Marathon Belgrade, FR Yugoslavia 1st Marathon 2:19:32


  1. ^ a b c All-Athletics. "Profile of Joseph Nzau". 
  2. ^ [1] PDF: 1979 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships - May 29-June 2, 1979
  3. ^ [2] Joseph N. Nzau - University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame

External links[edit]