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Team Cheruiyot gears up for innovative virtual race

World 1,500 meters champion Timothy Cheruiyot will lead a group of Kenyan athletes who will be up against Norwegian athletes dubbed “Team Ingebrigsten” in an innovative virtual race 2,000 meters race on June 11.

While the Kenyan team that also includes Elijah Manangoi, Edwin Meli, Vincent Keter and Timothy Sein will be running from the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, Team Ingebrigsten that consists of brothers Henrik, Filip, and Jakob, will be running from the Bislett Stadium in Oslo.

Each team will begin with five runners that will eventually be scaled down to three. The winner of the race will be the team with the best overall time for three runners.

Cheruiyot is puzzled with this new concept but is eager to fly the Kenyan flag high all the same.

“On paper it’s team Cheruiyot, but it’s the Kenyan flag that we hope to fly high. It should be a fun event and we are eager to entertain our fans who have missed watching us in action,” Cheruiyot told the Olympic Channel after an intense training session recently.

High altitude

“We want to run under 4 minutes 44 seconds, that won’t be easy at high altitude but it’s achievable,” he added.

He was nearing his peak before the coronavirus halted sports schedules globally and he reveals he had to retreat to upcountry.

“Before I left the camp, I was deep in my cross-country season. Then I moved to my rural home in Bomet Central where I farm,” Cheruiyot explained to the Olympic Channel,

“I grow maize and potatoes. On some days I did my long runs just to keep in shape. But I had not stepped on the track for any speed works this year.” He added.

For Manangoi this period has been key for him as he has now recovered from a leg stress fracture. He last competed in August 2019 but he is now ready for the Impossible Games challenge.

“I am feeling much better now. I am 100% pain-free. I am also in good shape, as I have managed to maintain my running weight, which is between 58-59kg,” he said,

“I was working out at my home gym and doing some long runs. I have also been very busy on the farm. I have many acres of land where I grow wheat, maize, and rear some cows both for dairy and beef production.”

The two are close friends who train under the Rongai Athletics Club group. They are excited to be back in camp, training together as they have done over the last six years.