Mercy Kiprotich from Elgeyo Marakwet County is among the many women athletes who are dreaming of lifting the inaugural Lukenya University One Million Trees Marathon that will be held in Mtito Andei, Makueni County on March 26.
The Lukenya University student says she has done her homework well and is ready for the race that is promoting sustainable actions on climate change.
“I have prepared for three months now, my training has been superb, I believe the women’s 10km title is mine to lose,” Kiprotich told Standard Sports.
Apart from dreaming to win the contest, Kiprotich also targets to lower her personal best. Her objective is to record a sub 40 minute in the race.
“I believe this is possible. Have been training in the mornings and evenings on the route and at the university stadium.
“I have done both the long runs for endurance and short races for speed, I can say my body is in good shape. I’m raring to go,” she underlined.
Kiprotich admits balancing education and athletics has been her major headache, but with time she has learnt to stretch beyond her limits to manage them both.
“My typical day starts at 3am, I do personal studies up to 6am, and then I head for the short runs within the university premises thereafter.
“After that, I attend classes before I head for the evening practices,” she explains.
Kiprotich says Lukenya University has been supportive in her bid to look for honours in the forthcoming marathon.
“The students going to take part in the race have been given adequate time to prepare well. They have been granted access to the varsity facilities, they have been allowed to test the race route too, through the recently held dry run to map the course.
“The university has also paid for us entry fees in some of the local races in this zone which we have used to gauge our strengths,” she stated.
Since embracing athletics, Kiprotich says her fitness level has gone a notch higher.
She has also landed on various supports that have seen her fund her university education with ease.
She firmly believes in the cause that the Lukenya One Million Trees Marathon is advocating for saying: “The proceeds from the race is going to salvage Makueni County. The climate here is not as welcoming as to where I come from.
“When the one million trees are planted, we are going to get adequate rainfall here, this is going to improve the environment, translating into high food production."
Kiprotich’s love for athletics was fueled by former women’s 5000m world champion Hellen Obiri.
“She is the inspiration behind my love for the sport, I saw her on TV winning gold and I got motivated. I hope one day I’ll be able to achieve similar feats she’s done,” she said.
In the next five years, Kiprotich is seeing herself globe trotting the world as she graces international athletics like the Olympics and the World Championships.
In order to keep dreams alive, Kiprotich motivates herself by reading positive books that give her an assurance that she’ always a champion.
This is the mentality she is proceeding with, as she seeks for glory in the Lukenya University One Million Trees Marathon on March 26.
“I believe in my dreams, they are valid, everything is possible under the sun,” she said.