Vivian Cheruiyot wins the first gold medal for Kenya in Beijing, A view from Kenya, by Justin Lagat


Cheruiyot_Vivian1a-Pre15.JPGVivian Cheruiyot, photo by

You can not keep a new Mom down. Jessica Ennis-Hill and Vivian Cheruiyot are but two of the new Mothers who have returned to the sport and have excelled. Here is Justin Lagat's piece on the 10,000 meter gold medalist and her dreams of Rio.

Vivian Cheruiyot wins the first gold medal for Kenya in Beijing, by Justin Lagat
Having won the Kenyan national championships' 1500m event, Vivian Cheruiyot was confident that with her speed she was going to use her kick in the last lap to win. For the better part of the 10,000m race she was running conservatively in the middle of the pack. She was placed strategically as they came to the bell and when Ethiopia's Gelete Burka picked up speed on the last lap, she also reacted and moved from the outside lane to counter that. With two hundred meters to go, she was already in front and moved to the inside of the lane. The two athletes started to open up a gap from the rest of the field as Burka tried to reclaim her position at the front and it was not until the last twenty meters when Kenyans were assured that Cheruiyot was indeed going to deliver the first gold medal for their country. She was able to win the gold medal she had been focusing on for a long time, Burka followed to win a silver medal and Emily Infeld of USA came in to win the bronze.
Unlike the men's race, the women's was run moderately with Japanese athletes taking turns at the front until past the midway when Sally Kipyego injected a fast pace for two laps and the contenders started to move to the front. The pace slowed down again with five laps to go and it was a crowded pack until the last 600m.
I was lucky enough to have done an interview with Vivian's coach, Sammy Mitei, for RunBlogRun in April this year and he had confidence that Vivian was going to medal at the world championships in the 10,000m event. "Vivian Cheruiyot is slowly gaining the same form she had before going for her maternity leave and is one of the athletes who I have confidence about them making the team; especially given that the long distance track events for women in Kenya is not as competitive as that of the men," Mitei had said.
From another interview I did with Vivian herself immediately after she began her training after her maternity break, she had expressed her wish to win another world championship gold medal. She had told me that her new baby boy was now giving her more motivation to run more given that she would now want her son to see her running and to feel proud of her.
"I want to run as much as I can on the track before finally moving to the marathon, because I know that once I move there, it will become harder to continue running well on the track again," she had told me.
There is also another thing that Vivian Cheruiyot still wants the most in the 10,000m event. "I missed a gold medal at the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and it is my hope that I will not retire before I win an Olympic gold medal. I have won gold medals in other big events and the only one I will need to go for now is the Olympic gold. I am hoping that 2016 will be my time," she had told me.

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