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Cheptegei targets world 10000m record in Valencia

ATHLETICS By World Athletics | September 5th 2020
2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships - Aarhus, Denmark - March 30, 2019. Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei poses with the medal after winning the men's race. [REUTERS/Aleksandra Szmigiel]

World 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei hopes to create another magical moment in his rising career as he plans an assault on the world 10,000m record at the NN Valencia World Record Day on October 7 at Turia Stadium in Valencia, Spain.

The one-off event aims to capitalise on the Ugandan’s stunning recent form, which last month saw him lower Kenenisa Bekele’s world 5000m record in Monaco. In Valencia, Joshua will be targeting the stunning mark of 26:17.53 set by Kenenisa in Brussels 15 years ago – the longest standing men’s 10,000m world record in history.

As a further measure of the quality of the world 10,000m record, no athlete other than Bekele has come within five seconds of the time. But following Joshua’s 1.99-second improvement on the Ethiopian’s 5000m mark in Monaco, the Ugandan will be confident he can mount a strong challenge in Valencia.

“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to target the 10,000m world record,” said Cheptegei, whose current personal best for the distance is 26:48.36. “As my performance in Monaco showed, I am in outstanding form, so I would like to make the most of my current shape by attacking the 10,000m world record.

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele crosses the finish line to win the Berlin Marathon on September 29, 2019 in Berlin. [Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP]

“Kenenisa’s 10,000m world record is one of the toughest in the books, but my training continues to go well and this gives me real confidence I can set another world record. I have many happy memories in Valencia, having set the world 10km road record there last year, so hopefully, we can once again create something truly special in Valencia, were running plays such an important role.”

In an attempt to add the 10,000m world record to the 5000m track world record and his current world road records over 5km and 15km, Cheptegei will be utilising world-class pace making support as well as the innovative Wavelight technology.

Following his world record bid in Valencia, Cheptegei plans to make his debut over the 21.1km distance at the rescheduled World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 on 17 October.

Bekele, who has been the proud owner of the world 10,000m record for the past 15 years, said: “I was delighted that the record went to Joshua, one of my NN Running Team mates. He is an outstanding talent who is clearly in great form and I wish him all the best in pursuit of the 10,000m world record in Valencia.”

Race organisers are in close contact with the local government in order to follow all the local and regional Covid-19 measurements to ensure the full safety of all those involved.

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Men's 10,000m Final - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 13/08/2016. Mo Farah (GBR) of Britain, Paul Kipngetich Tanui (KEN) of Kenya, Bedan Karoki Muchiri (KEN) of Kenya, Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) of Uganda compete. [REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson]
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