Joshua Cheptegei faced travel hitches but he ironically arrived in French city of Monaco on Monday earlier than usual ahead of the Wanda Diamond League leg tomorrow.
By Monday afternoon, Cheptegei, Stephen Kissa, World 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi and Winnie Nanyondo had already begun their warm-up drills in Monaco.
The world 10000m champion Cheptegei will line-up for the 5000m race tomorrow with breaking the 16-year-old world record (WR) as his main target.
Cheptegei’s NN Running Team and Global Sports Communication management have lined-up a trio of pacemakers to aid him to the goal.
He has scored on all his previous three WR attempts; for 15km at the Seven Hills Run in Nijmegen, Netherlands in 2018, the 10km mark in Valencia, Spain last December and 5km WR in Monaco in February.
Dutchman Roy Hoornweg, Kissa and Australian Matthew Ramsden will push Cheptegei to the half-way mark of the 12-and-a-half lap race in an attempt to finish under 12 minutes and 37.45 seconds.
“Roy helped Cheptegei break the WR in Nijmegen and Valencia,” says their coach Addy Ruiter.
Hoornweg is formerly in middle-distance but has since turned into a long-distance runner. He is a two-time Dutch champion and boasts of seven medals from the Dutch Championships.
“Roy will run the first 1000-1200m because he can run very well at exactly the pace that Joshua needs. He will pass the first km around 2:31.5,” Ruiter explained.
“Kissa is the second pacer,” he said. The Ugandan won the Seven Hills Run in November and he will have a job similar to what Abdallah Mande did for Cheptegei to win the 25-lap world title in Doha, Qatar last October.
And 23-year-old Ramsden completes the pace-setting trio. He won 1500m gold at the Oceania Championships in Townsville last year. “He is a new guy but ran 7:39 in a time trial over 3000m a few weeks ago,” stated Ruiter.
Cheptegei’s personal best time over the 5000m is at 12:57.41 which is about 20 seconds from the WR set by Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele.
Name: Joshua Cheptegei
Date of birth: September 12, 1996
Major Races: 5000m, 10000m
Personal Bests: 5000m (12:57.41), 10000m (26:48.36)
Coach: Addy Ruiter
Manager: Jurrie van der Velden
Kit Sponsor: Nike
Chepetegei's 2019 honours: l World Cross-country Gold, 5000m Diamond League Trophy and World 10000m Gold
The pace setters
Stephen Kissa. Born on December 1, 1995, the Ugandan is an integral member of Cheptegei’s training unit. He won two and made four top-two finishes in santioned road races last year.
Matthew Ramsden. Born on July 23, 1997, the Australian won 1500m gold at the 2019 Oceania Athletics Championships in Townsville. Ramsden is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Law at Deakin University.
Roy Hoornweg. Born on May 8, 1989, he is a two-time Dutch champion. He won seven medals at Dutch Championships. He set pace for Cheptegei to break the 15km and 10km world records in 2018 and 2019.