Chepngetich’s Ngong training regime echoes the determination in her belly

Gilbert KiprotichChief Athletics Writer

For world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich, discipline and focus are the two underlining principles that keep her moving; and they’ve come in handy through the testing Covid-19 period.

You see, at the beginning of the calendar year, there was so much at stake for Chepngetich before the unprecedented spread of the virus. She was set to make her debut at the London Marathon primed for April 26, a race that was consequently pushed back to October 4, in the English capital, owing to the effects of the virus that has left more 29,000 dead in the UK and over 195 000 infected.

In fact everything was looking up; she had the world at her feet; what with her inclusion in Kenya’s marathon team for the Olympic Games that were ultimately postponed to the summer of 2021, exactly a year later than originally scheduled.

While for many athletes the impact of such a move may be detrimental and heartbreaking, Chepngetich says the fight over the virus will strengthen her even more.

“It is hard for everyone because this is a global phenomenon but I am optimistic that we will finally overcome the situation and emerge  more stronger,” she said.

“Prior to the spread of the virus I was stepping up my preparations for the London Marathon but because they were postponed to October, I think I have to keep focus because we can’t do anything about that,” added the soft-spoken athlete.

Chepngetich’s endurance spirit came to the fore when she admirably braved the harsh climatic conditions to bag gold at the 2019 World Championships in the Qatari capital Doha, and the 25-year-old is keen to continue her fine form in Kenyan colours.

Buoyed by the majestic show in Doha, she understandably had every reason to look forward to Japan, where she’d hoped to engrave her name in the Olympic books but fate had other plans.

The shy queen was named in Kenya’s team for the Games alongside world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and the 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot, making for a fearsome looking trio.

“For any athlete the prospect of competing for their nation in Olympics is a dream. I know that we will soon overcome the virus and continue with our preparations for the Games,” she enthused.

Ruth Chepngetich wins the Istanbul Half Marathon (PHOTO/IAAF/Organisers)
Ruth Chepngetich wins the Istanbul Half Marathon (PHOTO/IAAF/Organisers)

At her Ngong training base, the diminutive athlete told Citizen Digital that she is still training although with an altered program, which she says calls for a lot of discipline.

“I hold individual training; once a day; either in the mornings, midday or evenings. Due to the government’s directive, I can’t train alongside my pacemakers at the moment. It is difficult but it is necessary” she said, evoking the determination in her belly as she bids to keep in shape ahead of future assignments.

World Record

Having registered the fourth fastest time in the women’s marathon behind Brigid Kosgei (World record holder), Paula Radcliffe and Mary Keitany, Chepngetich said she is working her way towards breaking the world record in the near future as she currently boasts a personal best of 2:17:08 she clocked at the 2019 Dubai Marathon.

Kosgei currently holds the world record of 2:14:04 from last year’s Chicago marathon.

Dominant performance by Ruth Chepngetich in Istanbul (PHOTO/IAAF/Courtesy)
Dominant performance by Ruth Chepngetich in Istanbul (PHOTO/IAAF/Courtesy)

“World record is a possibility, as long as you set your mind and work towards it then you can make it. Yes, it (world record) is something which is in my career aspirations and I know the right time will come,” added Chepngetich.

Although the athlete who hails from Kericho County loves farming, the fact that she is currently in Ngong underlines her resolve for more success.

“I really like farming but since I am not home, I pass my time in the garden and also doing cleanliness since I have a lot of time to relax unlike previously,” she said.