World Athletics (WA) have ratified 35 world records in the men’s 5000 metres since 1912. Joshua Cheptegei will hope to push that number to 36 with the fading of afternoon into evening in the Principality of Monaco.
The 23-year-old is on a 16-strong entry list for the 5000 metres race in tomorrow’s season opening Monaco Diamond League meet.
The NN Running Team starlet has made no secret of his burning desire to eclipse a record Kenenisa Bekele set in 2004.
The legendary Ethiopian covered 5000 metres in Hengelo, Netherlands, in a dozen minutes and 37.35 seconds. Cheptegei’s coach, Addy Ruiter, is supremely confident the long-standing record will fall.
“If we weren’t convinced that he has a good chance of running the world record, he wouldn’t try.”
Before departing for Monaco, Cheptegei’s machine purred in response to Ruiter’s speed sessions.
The distance runner effortlessly ran 3000 metres at an average of seven minutes and 40 seconds.
In Monaco, he will be paced by Dutchman Roy Hoornweg for the first kilometre.
Compatriot Stephen Kissa and Australian Matthew Ramsden will then take turns in that order - to push Cheptegei’s envelope until the halfway stage.
“The plan is [to run 3000 metres in] 7:36/37,” Ruiter told Daily Monitor, going on to conclude, “He is better than ever. Better than in Doha [where he won a world title].”