Joshua Cheptegei is buoyant ahead of his first Marathon this Sunday at the Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso.
Valencia Ciudad del Running has been chosen by Cheptegei for his inaugural venture into this distance.
Having secured three world 10,000m titles, an Olympic gold in the 5000m, and world records in both the 5000m and 10,000m on the track, Cheptegei now steps into the marathon world.
And Valencia holds a special place in his achievements, where he set the world 10km road record in 2019 and the still-standing world 10,000m mark of 26:11.00 in 2020.
Expressing his approach to the marathon, Cheptegei told Athletics Weekly, “I’m not solely focused on running fast times; this is a new challenge for me, and I’m still learning and evolving in training. My aim is to learn and ideally secure a podium finish.”
Training at altitude in Kapchorwa in preparation for the event, the 27-year-old emphasizes the importance of patience, drawing parallels between his track experiences and the demands of the marathon.
He adds, “Patience is crucial in the marathon; without it, reaching your goals becomes challenging. I aim to respect this new distance, taking a fresh perspective. We’re all unique; for me, enjoying the race and discovering what unfolds after 35 kilometers is key.”
However, Cheptegei faces stiff competition on Sunday, with notable rivals including Kenenisa Bekele (PB 2:01:41), Gabriel Geay of Tanzania (2:03:00), Alexander Mutiso of Kenya (2:03:29), and a list of other accomplished runners from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Brazil.
Cheptegei will be returning to track at the Paris Olympics next year.