Geoffrey Kamworor, known as the 'man for all surfaces', is also a man of few words. The Kenyan though is high on passion, a trait that has helped the seasoned middle-distance runner conquer many world events.
Kamworor, who leads the men's elite field for the TCS World 10K Bengaluru on Sunday, accomplished something special earlier this year. Timing 60:02, he finished first at the World Half Marathon championship in Valencia, completing a hat-trick of half-marathon titles.
The 25-year-old believes in setting high standards for himself and he feels the gold in Valencia is the result of good preparation. "My coach, Patrick Sang, helped me prepare well for the event. He understands my endurance level clearly and knows what is required for each race. Ahead of Valencia, I was the defending champion and I was aware of the quality field. I didn't get intimidated but it actually motivated me. I don't believe in looking up to new challenges. Winning a race, crossing the finish line, is like the start of a new race for me," Kamworor says, speaking to reporters here on Friday.
Kamworor's career got a strong push in 2014. He won his first world half marathon title that year in Copenhagen. The Kenyan also won his second 10K gold in Bengaluru in a time of 27:44. "It was a great year for me, filled with fantastic moments. It is then I believed that I could achieve more. I was happy that I scripted a course record here in Bengaluru," he says.
In the women's field, Netsanet Gudeta is a strong contender for Sunday's race. The Ethiopian, who broke into the scene with her win in the Great Ethiopian Run, shattered the world record in the women's world half-marathon earlier this year. Gudeta obliterated the record of Lornah Kiplagat (66:25, Udine, 2007) by crossing the finish line in 66:11.
Ahead of Valencia, Gudeta had dropped out of the Dubai Marathon at the last moment citing injury and she said it was extremely disappointing for her to miss the event. Gudeta was not in great form ahead of the world half- marathon but the 27-year-old buried her Dubai disappointment and surprised many with her win.
"I just wanted to win. I didn't have the record in mind. But I was happy to have accomplished both," she says. She adds that her podium finish in the Delhi Half-Marathon gave her a big boost. "That race gave me immense confidence. I got a good rest after that run before the world half-marathon. Everything went according to plan."
The Ethiopian also reveals her goals. "I haven't planned anything yet but I will be soon talking to my coach. I want to run on the track and that's on my mind," she says.