Vivian Cheruiyot looks forward to an unusual London Marathon, part 1/2

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565940679_CP_8237_B3AB98EDEEF1C9015DFD479CE0107933.JPGVivian Cheruiyot, 2015 Beijing WC, photo by World Athletics

565940679_CP_8323_2E9E669D794C98F0B792EBFF6354FC5C.JPGVivian Cheruiyot, 2015 Beijing WC, photo by World Athletics

Vivian Cheruiyot is an athlete who has had a long, exciting career. I have been able to view each marathon that she has competed in, and her major athletic championships. This is part 1/2 by Stuart Weir on the amazing athlete as she plans for the 2020 London Marathon.

Vivian Cheruiyot looks forward to an unusual London Marathon

viv259p.jpgVivian Cheruiyot takes 2018 London Marathon, photo by London Marathon

Before running her first marathon in 2017, Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot had enjoyed a stellar career on the track running 5,000m and 10,000m. Her achievements include:

Three-time Olympian.

Olympic champion 5000m.

Five Olympic medals.

Medalist at four world championships.

World Champion at 5000m and 10000m in 2011.

World cross country champion.

Winner of 14 Diamond League races.

large.jpgVivian Cheruiyot takes 2018 London Marathon, photo by London Marathon

2020 will be her fourth London Marathon. She was fourth in 2017, her first ever marathon. She won in 2018 and was second in 2019. She has also won the Frankfurt Marathon and finished second in New York.

large (1).jpgVivian Cheruiyot (center) takes 2018 London Marathon, photo by London Marathon

She told me last week that she is looking forward to running in London but also expecting it to be very strange. She told me that she loves running on the crowded London streets and is energized by the support of the crowds: "We like running with others. And we love to see spectators and hear them cheering us on. But this year it will just be [elite] athletes. It's going to be difficult. And also the course is 19 laps in a park. It's not going to feel normal. I don't know quite what this will be like. It will be completely different. Because normally you hear spectators shouting "Go! Go! Go!" and it gives you more energy to run. Without spectators it will not be good because normally as they cheer you get more and more energy".

I asked her if she had ever run a marathon in short laps and indeed if she would try to practice that before the race: "No, never. I'm used to a marathon which goes from a start to a finish. I will just do my long training runs as normal. It would be very difficult to do a long run in laps".

vic350.jpgEliud Kipchoge, Prince Harry, Vivian Cheruiyot, London 2018, photo by London Marathon

She also admitted that the uncertainty of whether there would be races had affected her approach to training: "When London Marathon in April was canceled, it was hard to train as normal because I didn't know if I was going to run in the 2020 London Marathon or if it would be postponed to next year. So my training was 50-50 but now I started training seriously again because we know that the London Marathon will take place this year. I have started to pick it up but training this year has not been without a lot of challenges. Training is still a challenge; you can train in a group of two or three but not a big group. It is very difficult training on your own when you're used to the group. Life in Eldoret is now a little bit normal but you still have to be careful. Shops are open. Life is still a little bit difficult but I think it's going to be OK".

She added that she was unclear about the practicalities of the race in an era of Covid: "At this stage we have not been given that information. I would expect to get it in September. I have heard that they might charter a private jet to bring us [Kenyan elites] direct to London. But I don't know if we will just come three days before the race like normal or something different. But having to quarantine would not be good. You cannot travel, quarantine for two weeks and then run a race".

Since the interview with Vivian, Virgin Money London Marathon has released the following details of how the elite athletes will prepare for the race:

Testing: Athletes will be tested for Covid-19 in their country of origin/home four days prior to travel and again on arrival at the hotel. Testing will continue at the hotel until the Friday before the event. Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 or displays symptoms will be placed in quarantine immediately and, in the case of athletes, will not be able to participate in the race.

  • Athlete-only hotel: The athletes will stay in a hotel outside London which will be used exclusively by athletes and support staff, plus a team from the Virgin Money London Marathon. The hotel was chosen for its 40 acres of grounds where athletes will be able to train during Race Week inside the bubble. An extensive hygiene protocol will be in place in the hotel and it will be mandatory for everyone inside the bubble to observe social distancing rules and to wear face coverings at all times, apart from when training, while dining and in their own rooms. All athletes and their support staff will have single rooms.

In part 2, Vivian reflects on her career.

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