Three Records await Conselsus Kipruto in Ostrava, by Justin Lagat
This past weekend while other Kenyan athletes were participating in the national championships at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, I and my training group happened to meet with Conselsus Kipruto and his training mates at Mosoriot Teachers' College track where they were doing a few explosive speed workouts. He is preparing himself for the IAAF World Challenge in Ostrava and may be the reason why their training was short and intensive. But when their workout was over, being a guy who loves running so much, Kipruto requested to join our group for two more 400m intervals and we welcomed him.
It was not only his apparent love for running that touched me, but the humility he demonstrated in the way he approached each and every one in our group to shake our hands and request to join us. Perhaps other athletes of his caliber, who have won a number of Diamond League races, would have just approached one athlete of his standard to make his request. He also decided to join the line from behind us as we continued our training.
Kipruto has been undefeated so far in all of this year's IAAF Diamond races starting from Shanghai, to Eugene, to Oslo. Now all eyes are on him as he prepares to run this Thursday in Ostrava. The excitement is not so much on whether he is going to win it, but more on the time he is anticipated to run. He himself knows that Ostrava is a fast course. He has three records to attempt: The 8:02:55 meet record held by Kipsiele Koech, the 7:58:66 world junior record, and perhaps he may as well be able to add only seven seconds and 54 microseconds to his personal best time of 8:01:16 and smash Saif Shaheen's world record of 7:53.63.
Looking at his performances in the last few months, then watching himthis Saturday doing his speed workouts at Mosoriot, all I can say is that he appears to be in great shape and if he is going to get good pace makers and a couple of fast runners to push him, then we may be bracing ourselves for very fast times in Ostrava.
It is hardly two years since he first got world recognition by winning a gold medal on 8th July, 2011, at the 7th IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille. He went ahead to win another gold medal on15th July last year at the IAAF World junior Championships in Barcelona. This year, having so far beaten most of the greatest steeplechase runners at the Diamond League Events, it is most likely that he will win another gold medal again at the World Championships in Moscow.
Although he is making headlines in the 3000m steeplechase races, unlike most other steeplechasers who feature in one event his performances are also impressive in other events with times of 2:19:85 in 1000m, 3:39.57 in 1500m, and 7:44.09 in 3000m flat. He was also position five at this year's World Cross Country Championships in the junior race.
While I am not in his training group, I know most of the secrets with his, or any other athlete's training at Mosoriot under coach Jephtah Keter. I trained under him in 2009 and his main focus was on hill workouts at a famous valley called Chepketei where many world class runners attribute their success to. In fact, I remember how Jephtah was even lenient with other workouts in that he would just give us the "dose" for track workouts, and would even miss to come to the track, but never missed the hill sessions. He at times arrived at the hill earlier and made some distance markings on the hill where he would insist that we crossed strictly at the specified times. When I never saw him accompany Conselsus to the track this weekend, I just guessed he had done enough at the hill sessions and the track workouts were just something the athlete could do for himself.
In addition to Kipruto, there are many top athletes to look forward to watching at the 52nd Ostrava Golden spike IAAF World Challenge, including Tirunesh Dibaba, Genzebe Dibaba, Kenenisa Bekele and Sally Pearson, among others. However, as one of the junior athletes currently giving a hard time to the senior ones, just like Faith Chepng'etich and Mary Cain, Conselsus Kipruto will be the young athlete to watch here.