Boston Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono has confessed that it’s a tough affair training alone. Because training with team-mates gives him the extra push.
Cherono has been training at his home area in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, but misses the allure of Kaptagat in Elgeyo Marakwet County, where he is used to criss-crossing forest paths with teammates.
Cherono agrees with world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge that Kaptagat “is the best place to sharpen one’s career.”
He was speaking on Saturday after visiting Neema Children’s Home in Eldoret where he donated foodstuff to more than 50 children to help them cope with the coronavirus.
“I have been training alone for the last two months just to keep fit after Boston Marathon organisers cancelled the (April) race,” he said.
“I was in good shape and my target was to defend my title,” said Cherono, who is also the Chicago Marathon champion.
He also said that his preparations had started way back in December and he was optimistic that he would bag victory something he has now shifted to the next season.
“A whole season has gone to waste due to the coronavirus which caught everybody unaware with races cancelled across the globe. Athletes depend on competition and we are all at home praying that the virus may be contained,” he said.
ALWAYS RUNS SMART
Cherono is known for his strong finishing kick, which earned him that famous wins in Boston and Chicago. He terms it as “running smart.”
“When you get into competition, every athlete is good and you have to do good calculations in order to emerge a winner. I always run smart and it has indeed worked for me in Boston and Chicago Marathons.”
He will be starting his build-up training next month as he looks forward to defend his title in the rearranged Boston Marathon in September after winning last year's race in two hours, seven minutes and 57 seconds, two seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa.
The sprint finish victory - which he mirrored in his win in Chicago on October 13 with a time of 2:05:45 - with all the top three competitors finishing within three seconds of each other — left Cherono as one of the most sought-after marathoners in the world.
Cherono out-kicked Debela Dejene and Asefa Mengstu in the last 400 metres of the race something he said he wants to repeat in his next race.
With the Olympics Games shifting to next year, Cherono was disappointed but says he is still focused.
“We just have to wait because life is more important,” said Cherono.
Cherono was named as one of the athletes who will represent Kenya teaming up with Olympics marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and World Championships marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto.
Bedan Karoki, who finished second in the Tokyo Marathon and fourth in Chicago last year, is among the reserves alongside Honolulu Marathon and African Games Half Marathon winner Titus Ekiru.
Neema Children's Home Director Rev. Joshua Mbithi together with his wife Miriam were delighted by the kind gesture from the champion.
“We are happy that a champion has blessed us with food at this trying moment which has been hard for us. This will help us and we would also like to invite other well-wishers to support us feed these children,” said Mbithi.