Joshua Cheptegei’s debut on the marathon scene garnered much attention back in November, as the Ugandan long-distance runner has collected many noteworthy accolades in his career.
To date, Cheptegei holds the world records for both the 10,000 and 5000 meters, as well as the fastest time ever recorded for the 15 kilometers. In the previous edition of the Olympics in Tokyo, Cheptegei also clinched the gold medal in the 5,000 m event and the silver medal in the 10,000 m event.
After working hard, training tirelessly, and rising to the top of his generation, Cheptegei has finally made his name known internationally.
And so when news of his participation in the upcoming Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso on December 3 hit the web, it caused quite a stir. Many were curious as to how he would fare in the marathon, considering he’s never participated in one before, and if he would be able to apply his skills in the 42.2-kilometer-long course and clinch another win.
A few days before the marathon, Cheptegei said via Olympics.com that he’s not looking at running fast times because it’s still a new distance for him and that he’s still in the process of learning and training.
He continued by saying that the track has taught him to be patient in pursuing his objectives and that he plans to apply this same patience to the marathon. He expressed his desire to tackle the matter with a great deal of “respect” and from a fresh perspective.
Cheptegei finishes 37th in the Valencia Marathon
Cheptegei didn’t reach the podium this time; he finished the race with a time of 2:08:59 and placed 37th overall. And although this was the case, there were moments in the race where Cheptegei showed potential. Passing through the 10-km mark, Cheptegei emerged as one of the leaders in the race, alongside Ethiopian runners Sisay Lemma and Kenenisa Bekele. He was also one of the first seven participants to get through the halfway mark. At 1:08, however, Cheptegei started to lag behind the pack, along with Kandie and Mutiso.
Sisay Lemma finished the course within 2:01:48, breaking Kelvin Kiptum’s previous course record by five seconds.
Cheptegei finished the marathon around seven minutes later, at 2:08:59.
Following the race, Cheptegei took to social media to share his thoughts on his first marathon, saying he was proud to have completed the race and thanking his supporters and the organisers for their faith in him.
🎙 “Marathon is a journey a new chapter that I opened today. I am proud that I finished, despite that the result didn’t match up with what we had trained for. I have had disappointment before and it always made me come back stronger, it is the most powerful lesson in life. More… pic.twitter.com/2Yice1F7MO
— Joshua Cheptegei 🇺🇬🇺🇬 🥇🥇 (@joshuacheptege1) December 3, 2023
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