But the 22-year-old, who is studying in Japan, was denied his reward when lack of marshals and course markings saw him go off-course.
"I went maybe 100 metres, perhaps 200 metres, the wrong way before I realised my mistake," Kariuki said. "When I got back to he course, it was too late, there were runners ahead of me."
Kariuki, with a best time of 60min 48sec, was the hot favourite for the longest event on the Student Games programme, but eventually finished sixth, two places behind Britain's Mark Steinle (64:45), in a race won by Mario Gomes dos Santos, of Brazil (64:05).
"I hope they mark the course better in Seville," said Kariuki, who will run the marathon at next month's World Championships.
Britain's women 400-metre hurdlers, Sinead Dudgeon and Natasha Danvers, just missed out on the medals. Dudgeon, of Glasgow University, was placed fourth in 55.35sec, 0.05sec outside the Scottish record she had set in Friday's semi-final. Danvers came in fifth in 55.75sec.
The race was won in powerful style by Daimi Pernia, of Cuba, in a Student Games record of 53.95sec, the ninth fastest in the world this year, a performance which marks her out as a potential medallist when she returns to Spain next month for the World Championships. Only the Jamaican Olympic champion, Deon Hemmings, and Morocco's world champion, Nezha Bidouane, have run faster this year.
Yoelbi Quesada, the defending champion in the triple jump, retained his title and sent a message to Jonathan Edwards ahead of Seville with his 17.40-metre effort, the second best jump in the world this year.
In the men's 5,000m, Matt O'Dowd, from Loughborough, who was only called up into the team a week ago, ran the race of his life, yet was denied a medal by just one place in the final-lap dust-up. O'Dowd finished fourth 13:40.54, a lifetime best, as Sergei Lebid, the European cross-country champion from the Ukraine, took gold.
Judo provided another two medals for Britain on Saturday, when Eric Bonti, from Brunel University in west London, took silver after losing in the final of the 73kg class, to Kaligh Boldbaatar, of Mongolia. Georgina Singleton won the bronze medal in the women's 52kg category.Reuse content