Kipchoge: Pocket Rocket ready to soar in the road race

Olympic and two-time London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has backed Olympic 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot for road racing success as she makes the switch after an illustrious track and field career spanning 17 years.

Kipchoge, who switched his focus to road racing after failing to make the 2012 Olympic team, has enjoyed much more success racing on the road than during his years on track and is confident Cheruiyot has everything to emulate the success.

The 32-year-old told Citizen Digital that with Cheruiyot in frame for the 2017 London Marathon, the world should expect ‘fireworks’ at the English Capital.

“She’s flown high the Kenyan flag in different competitions for a long time now. Shifting to marathon is good decision for her because she has appreciated growth.

“I expect fireworks in London, I expect her to clock best times in future in marathon. I can predict by the end of 2017 the best road runner will be Vivian. It will be great to watch her run alongside other distance stars,” Kipchoge said.

Cheruiyot who won the 2016 Overall Sports Personality of Year at the annual SOYA awards however remained cool about her own expectations when she comes up against reigning Olympic champion and compatriot Jemimah Sumgong among other stars in the ultimate distance.

“I just want to run a good race; I’m working hard to ensure I will make an impact in London. For now I’m not focusing on the names of my competitors but registering a good time there,” Cheruiyot who set an Olympic record in 5000m at the Rio 2016 Summer Games said.

Her exploits in Rio crowned her track running career with the only gold medal missing from her storied cabinet in her 16th year as an elite runner.

“I’m very excited to launch my marathon career in London, against respected champions. I want to be like Eliud because he has been very impressive since he started running marathon.”

Coincidentally, it is in London where Kipchoge underlined his marathon supremacy after stunning a strong field including Wilson Kipsang (double London marathon champion) and world record holder Dennis Kimetto in 2015.

Cheruiyot could run yet another half marathon race to warm up for the London marathon, after clinching the Great North Run which served as her debut in September last year.