Two-time world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir is longing to even do better than before when the Olympic Games women’s marathon gets underway in Tokyo, Japan, in July.
Jepchirchir, the women-only world 21km record holder, says she is hopeful of winning a medal at the Olympics.
Not bad for an athlete with zero track records. She is in the same club with former world marathon record holders Dennis Kimetto, Wilson Kipsang and three-time Amsterdam Marathon winner Wilson Chebet.
It’s like she has chosen to live by the words of legendary American author, Aaron Lauritsen, who wrote: “Life’s trials will test you, shape you, but don’t let them change who you are.”
Jepchirchir has come a long way, having been raised up in a poor family.
On Friday night, a picture of their former mud-walled grass thatched house that was juxtaposed with her ultra-modern home in Kosachei village in Uasin Gishu went viral.
“I decided to share the picture because I felt that it would inspire young and budding athletes. I urge them not to give up in all their undertakings.
“The pictures serve as motivation for me as I prepare for Tokyo Olympic Games. As a two-time world half marathon winner and record holder over the distance, I will be under pressure to perform. I will compete against highly experienced athletes.
“I have not competed at the Olympic Games, but I am heading to Tokyo for the first time and the most probable medal should be gold. I have been yearning for it and this is the time,” said Jepchirchir.
Jepchirchir, the 2020 Valencia Marathon winner, will team up with world marathon champion Ruth Chepngétich, world marathon record holder, Brigid Kosgei and former London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot.
Jepchirchir replaced Frankfurt marathon champion Valary Ayabei and Sally Chepyego who were dropped from the marathon team that was earlier announced before the games were postponed due to coronavirus pandemic.
“I know the race won’t be easy to get gold but I will try my best in one of the strongest teams ever. My teammates are a serious threat,” said Jepchirchir.
In Poland during the World half marathon championships, it was the second time she had broken that record in as many months (she ran 65:34 in Prague on September 5).
Jepchirchir also won the World Half in Cardiff in 2016.