When Lawrence Cherono was named to Team Kenya’s men’s marathon squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he was ecstatic.
With Kenya abundant in long-distance runners, coaches usually face a selection dilemma and the reigning Boston Marathon and Chicago Marathon winner wasn’t sure he would find a spot on Team Kenya.
To complicate matters for Cherono, many Kenyan athletes have had impressive times.
“I was fortunate enough to join Kenya’s marathon team. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time, but in past championships there has been fierce competition for Team Kenya places and I’m happy, Kenya.” to represent at the Olympics, “said Cherono.
Kenya’s men’s and women’s marathon teams will leave for Tokyo on August 2nd, from where the athletes will head to Sapporo, northern Japan, where the marathons will take place.
Cherono will team up with marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who is also the defending champion, and Amos Kipruto, marathon bronze medalist of the 2019 World Athletics Championships, in the men’s marathon.
After winning the silver medal behind the winner Evans Chebet at the Valencia Marathon 2020 in December, Cherono is now ready to contest the biggest fight of his track and field career to date – the fight for gold in an elite field in Sapporo, about 832 kilometers from Tokyo .
“For me, a dream has come true. The task ahead is very big, but we are capable of winning. The team looks strong and we will do our best to win medals for our country,” said Cherono.
His training base
The low-voiced athlete trained at Kaptagat in Elgeyo Marakwet County. It’s been four months of uninterrupted preparation.
“I did a very good and injury-free training session. I devoted four months to my preparation, during which I ran between 230 and 260 kilometers in total to achieve certain goals,” said Cherono.
The coronavirus pandemic suspended his training program and training camps were closed by government order, forcing him to train individually for many months. Eventually he relocated his training to Iten.
“When the camps closed, I had to continue training on my own and moved my training base to Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet before resuming the sport. I am happy because I managed to concentrate on my preparations with my training colleagues,” he said.
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What about his strategy for the race?
“Although we have our individual goals, we will work as a team in the early stages of the race as our competitors are monitoring our move. We have to be smart up to the 35th kilometer, which is usually the strength and endurance of an athlete, “explained Cherono.
Cherono won the 2019 Boston Marathon in 2 hours and 7:57 minutes, just two seconds ahead of Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa.
He won the 2019 Chicago Marathon in a time of 2:05:45 in the sprint finish. The three best athletes crossed the finish line within three seconds, making Cherono one of the most sought-after marathon runners in the world.
In the last 400 meters he overtook the Ethiopians Debela Dejene and Asefa Mengstu and won the second big marathon of his career in style.
His undying drive for success has something to do with his upbringing.
Born on August 7, 1988 in the village of Kuikui in Barwesa, Baringo County, the marathon runner ran in a low voice about 10 kilometers every day to complete basic training at the Kuikui Elementary School.
“We ran through because the lunch break wasn’t enough for us. I used to be late to school and we were punished by running 12 times across the football field, and that’s how my love for athletics began.” said Cherono.