Joshua Cheptegei: It’s Time to transition to Marathon

Renowned long-distance runner Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei has announced his intention to transition from track events to marathon races, saying that the time has come for him to embrace a new chapter in his athletic career.

Cheptegei’s decision comes after securing his third consecutive world title in the challenging 10,000-meter race at the prestigious stage of Budapest.

At 26 years, Cheptegei, who holds world records for both the 10,000-meter and 5,000-meter distances, displayed incredible determination despite sweltering temperatures, completing the race in 27 minutes and 51.42 seconds.

His exceptional performance saw him outshine competitors like Kenya’s Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, who finished with a time of 27:52.60, and his long-time rival, Selemon Barega from Ethiopia, who crossed the line in 27:52.72.

Speaking after his gold-winning race, Cheptegei mentioned that it was a special moment for him to defend his title, especially considering his return from an injury. He expressed his belief that it’s time for him to transition to marathons, as he feels his journey in the middle-distance races has been a successful one.

Cheptegei’s return to the 10,000-meter race marked his first participation since 2022, a year in which he faced an injury setback during the 5000-meter event.

However, this did not diminish his ability to outcompete a strong field of 27 athletes in Budapest. Prior to his victory in Budapest, Cheptegei encountered an unexpected challenge when his fellow athlete Jacob Kiplimo, a prominent figure on the track, had to withdraw due to a hamstring injury. Despite the increased pressure, Cheptegei rose to the occasion and emerged triumphant.

This latest gold medal signifies Cheptegei’s remarkable achievement of securing three consecutive world titles in the 10,000-meter race, a distinction previously attained by legendary athletes like Great Britain’s Sir Mo Farah and Ethiopian icons Haile Gebrselassie and Kennenisa Bekele.

This accomplishment solidifies Cheptegei’s status as one of the foremost athletes of his generation.

Benjamin Njia, the coach of the Uganda Athletics Federation, expressed his support for Cheptegei’s decision to venture into marathons. He explained that while Cheptegei will be using a marathon race in December to assess his potential, this doesn’t immediately mark his departure from track events.

Cheptegei will still have two more years to compete, including the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, where he aims to win gold in the 10,000-meter race while continuing to excel in the 5,000-meter event.

Cheptegei medals at Major events

Olympics

Tokyo 2020

5000m – Gold

10000m – silver

Commonwealth games

2018 Gold Coast

5000- Gold

10000m-Gold

World Athletics Championship

10000m- silver –London 2017

10000m- Gold – Doha 2019

10000m- Gold – Eugene 2022

10000m- Gold – Budapest 2023

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