Ugandan distance runner Joshua Cheptegei (© AFP / Getty Images)
Joshua Cheptegei (UGA)
World 10,000m and cross-country champion, world record-holder for 5000m and 10,000m.
My passion for running started from the age of 10 or 11. I remember my brother and I would put some poles around a grass field as markers, and we’d race friends and neighbours six or seven times around the poles.
Even back then, running brought me great joy and immense happiness. Running was in my blood from a young age. It was my passion.
I soon started competitive running at primary school. Back then I competed just for the glory of my school. It was never for commercial gain. The glory of competing for my school is what motivated me. Sometimes I finished second, sometimes third, I didn’t always win but I was grateful and happy.
It was while at high school in 2012 I first dreamed of being a professional runner. But even later, once I started training full time, my passion for running has remained.
I’m at my happiest running the tempo runs. I love it. Those long speed sessions where you have to try to hold the same pace for a long time. It brings me immense joy – especially those sessions when you finish and you still feel like you can push some more.
It is never a good day when, for whatever reason, I can’t run – especially if I’m injured or ill. I love to wake up every morning and go for a run.
I would say there is immense value in running. Success starts with a healthy body and a healthy mind, and when we run we are nourishing both. This will then allow us to be more productive and achieve our best results, no matter the profession.
Running brings with it great freedom and health. And even after I’m retired from professional athletics, I look forward to the thought of going for a run every day.
Steve Landells for World Athletics