'I feel like a celebrity on campus'

'I feel like a celebrity on campus'

Young blood

'I feel like a celebrity on campus'

The recently held 10K Bangalore Run 2014 saw a 100 international runners take to the roads to compete for the grand prize.

And while Geoffrey Kamworor went home with the winner’s title, his contemporary Joshua Cheptegei proudly took away the second prize in the men’s category. He spoke to Metrolife after the big race, holding on to his newly received medal and unable to get the smile off his face.

Joshua is a new name and face to the world arena, having started running professionally only last year. In fact, he made his first international debut in the Bangalore run and he only got his passport made a month ago, he informs. “It was quite humid and the conditions were tough to run but I knew that sooner or later, things would be fine. I didn’t expect to finish second!” admits the Ugandan athlete. “I chose to do this run as I wanted to see how I can compete with other international athletes. It’s been a memorable experience.” 

His career graph has been an impressive one for a newcomer, with Joshua taking gold at the World University Cross Country Championship in Entebbe earlier this March and qualifying in the International Association of Athletics Federations meet – feats that aren’t too common for someone who just decided to pick up his shoes and run one fine morning. “It’s been my dream to be an athlete.

But since I was a student, I couldn’t really put my time and energy into training. After my higher studies, I took an active interest in it and by August, 2013, I had joined the university and was running simultaneously. I first participated in the national games, then in the 5K and 10K runs and finally, I trained in the winter holidays to participate in the Africa cross country run,” he informs.

Ask him whether he receives any differential treatment from his batch-mates and he laughs and replies, “I just came back from university three weeks ago. It’s amazing every time because I feel like a celebrity on campus!”

How does a young athlete like him keep his morale up amidst the more experienced elite runners? “I only think of producing the best that I can,” he answers, adding that he’s looking forward to running his best in the World Junior Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA, in July. “I keep talking to some of the elite athletes and even that helps me stay motivated. People more experienced than you can often give the best piece of advice!” he wraps up.