Ugandan long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei has been in fine form over the past one and a half years.
Over that period, the 23-year-old has won gold at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark; the 5000m at the Diamond League final in Zurich; the 10,000m gold at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha; and he closed 2019 by setting a world 10km record of 26:38 on the road in Valencia.
Cheptegei’s first event of 2020 was a road race in Monaco, where he set a new world road 5 km record of 12:51, breaking through the event’s 13-minute barrier, taking 9 seconds from the previous best time of 13:00, set by Kenya’s Sammy Kipketer in 2000. He followed that up with a world record-smashing performance at the Diamond League meet in the same city on Friday. August 14.
And on October 17, Cheptegei will try to become the first athlete in history to win consecutive world titles over cross country, 10,000m, and Half Marathon when he takes to the line in Gdynia, Poland for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships.
It will be Chaptegei’s first try at the Half Marathon but he is no fears of taking on the world’s best over 21.1km (13.1 miles) and will be going for victory.
“For now I don’t have any,” said Cheptegei as quoted by World Athletics. “I just feel it’s an upgrade because I have been running 15km, 10 miles already, so it’s not far.”
“The goal was to prepare for a race where I am not having any pressure because I (have not run it) before, but of course I want to go for the victory.”
To prepare, Cheptegei has added more volume to his weekly training, which is typically 120-140km when preparing for track races.
“Now I’m doing 150, 160,” he says. “It’s still not that big. But the half marathon is quite demanding in terms of endurance so we’re trying to work on that.”
Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor has dominated the distance in recent years, winning the last three world titles and setting the world record in Copenhagen at 58:01.