Wilson Kiprop, 2012 Kenyan 10,000m Trials,
photo by PhotoRun.net
Justin Lagat found Wilson Kiprop at the Tuskys Wareng Cross Country Champs, and completed a quick interview of the very busy Kiprop. Here is what Justin Lagat wrote:
A few days to this year's edition of the Tuskys Wareng Cross Country Championships, I dialed Wilson Kiprop's number and asked him whether he was going to defend his title there. He told me that he wasn'tplanning to race till January next year, but was going to witness the others compete for it. So, we agreed to meet there. This is the race that got him back to the headlines last year before he went ahead to win the annual Discovery Cross Country, also in Eldoret in January this year, then a number of other big races abroad that included his world leading time of 27:01 at the Kenya's 10,000m Olympic trials that were
held in Eugene, USA.
To many, he was expected to be able to finally win the seemingly elusive gold medal in the event for the Kenyan nation at the London Olympics, but just like it also happened with Asbel Kiprop, who also had a world leading time in the 1500m, an injury dashed the country's hopes.
We met after the end of the 12km senior men's race where new athletes
came up to take the podium positions, namely Gideon Kipketer, Clement Langat and my training mate in Thomas Longosiwa's group, Hosea Nailel. There were a lot of stars in the field that included the world cross country champion, Joseph Ebuya, Asbel Kiprop, Mike Kigen and Shadrack Kosgei. He requested me to make the meeting as brief as possible since he had some businesses to take care of.
So, straight away I started by asking him how he ended up running, of which he told me that after realizing he had a talent for it, he decided to give it all his best. After the hardships he had gone through in his early life, he had decided to use running in order to get out of poverty, and "to pay back for the hard times I went through while I was young and poor. By now trying to enjoy as much success as I can, now that I have the potential and ability to achieve," he put it.
When I asked him whether he had any relatives or siblings that were into running as well, he took a few seconds, as if trying to remember of any, then replied, "I don't think there is. Most of my siblings are now pursuing education."
Between the 10,000m track event and the half marathon, he would not
say which one he prefers more to the other. He said both events are
his favorite. He is the 2010 World Champion in the half marathon and
the 2010 African Champion in the 10,000m event.
"Concerning my experience at the Olympic Games this year, it was
really a great disappointment for me and for the people who had great
hopes in me," he said when I broached the topic. He says, to date, he
hasn't stopped thinking of that day. Thoughts of that day keep popping
up in his mind, motivating him to try and do better next time.
I asked him whether he had any issues with the selection criteria of
which the Athletics Kenya (AK) used to select the 10,000m team to
represent the country at the London Olympics and is also planning to
use again in the team to Moscow World Championships next year. While
he thinks that it is a good plan in that it enables athletes to run
championship qualifying times abroad, because it is very hard for one
to do that on Kenyan soil, he also expressed his concerns that it may
not be fair for the upcoming athletes who may not be lucky to be
included in the provisional team to take part in the trials. But, to
the established athletes, it may be advantageous to them.
The advice he gives to athletes who wish to accomplish success in running is that they should know that it won't come easy. It needs a lot of hard work, discipline and perseverance. He also advises them to seek guidance from experienced athletes and coaches and take their advice seriously.
We finished our brief meeting and I bid him goodbye with a lot of anticipation to see how he is going to begin his racing season early next year. I will be looking out for him in January at the Discover Cross Country, one of my favorite and most exciting racing events in Eldoret. Perhaps his delay in starting to race may yield the best results for him next year. I plan to run against him in January at the
cross country event, so watch out for that story here on this blog!