This is Witness the Wonder, the Preview to the 2023 World Champs in Budapest for Day 24, May 11, 2023.  

For the next 21 days, RunBlogRun will be posting a story a day on the buildup to the World Athletics Outdoor Championships, to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from August 19-August 27, 2023.

Let me tell you about Joshua Cheptegai.

In 2015, the young Ugandan totally impressed fans with his fifth place in the 10,000 meters in Beijing.

Joshua Cheptegai doubled in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, taking eighth in the 5,000m and sixth in the 10,000m.

Uganda has a fantastic history in athletics, going back to the 1972 400m hurdle gold medalist John Aki Bua! Joshua Cheptegai and his countrymen are proud of their heritage, and with Stephen Kiprotich, London’s 2012 Olympic gold medalist, they have even more recent heroes.

Joshua Cheptegai defends his Doha title in Eugene, World Athletics Championships.
Eugene, Oregon, USA
July 15-26 2022, photo by Kevin Morris

In 2017, Joshua Cheptegai fought brilliantly and took the World Championships bronze medal.

Joshua Cheptegai excels over 12.5 laps and 25 laps. In the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Joshua took gold in the 5,000m and the 10,000m! Uganda picks up two medals.

Joshua Cheptegai has developed into a championship racer. This is a certain skill set. In typical fashion, the 5,000 meters at a championship level is hell-bent from the first lap, and the 10,000 meters goes out tactically, and then, the pace quickens, in each case, a near sub-four minute last mile, and final 800 meters in the 1:52 range better be in your regimen to medal.

In 2019, Joshua Cheptegai started the year off with a World Cross Country title in Aarhus, Denmark. Not only did Joshua win, but he led the Uganda team to the title!

Joshua Cheptegai, The Prefontaine Classic
Eugene, Oregon, USA, photo by Kevin Morris

The Doha World Champs in October 2019 gave Joshua Cheptegai a chance to take gold at the 10,000 meters!

The pandemic shook up the entire sport. At that time, Joshua Cheptegai ran for the records. On August 14, 2020, Joshua Cheptegai ran 12;35.36, breaking the sixteen-year-old WR of Kenenisa Bekele for the 5,000 meters., his first race of 2020.

On October 7, 2020, Joshua Cheptegai took Kenenisa Bekele’s WR at 10,000m, with 26:11.00.

Now a two-time World record holder, Joshua Cheptegai took that confidence into the 2021 delayed Tokyo Olympics. In Tokyo, Joshua Cheptegai just lost the 10,000m to Selemon Barega, with Ugandan teammate Jacob Kiplimo who took the bronze. Joshua came back at the 5,000m distance and took gold!

In 2022, Joshua Cheptegai won the 10,000 meters in Eugene at the World Champs and took 9th in the 5,000 meters.

Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda (right) winning the 2022 World Athletics Championships 10,000m gold medal ahead of Stanley Mburu of Kenya (silver medal) and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda (bronze medal) (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
, used with permission.

Joshua had a lot to say bout his 10,000m gold in Eugene: ” I did not aim to run really fast because of the heat; the sun was very strong. You just have to enjoy the race and see how it is going. Then it was going good. Actually, it was really hot today compared to yesterday’s race when the ladies ran the 10k. The conditions were kind of challenging. But nevertheless, I prepared myself for something special. I knew that if I get into the last fight, I can control it and I could speed it up. I was able to get stronger and keep it faster and faster. It was very emotional for me to come back to the USA, where I started my international career in 2014. Now, I want to continue my dominancy in long-distance running, and I hope I will manage it. This means a lot to me, and I have to thank to all my teammates who helped me and my compatriots who were praying for me.”

In 2023, Joshua Cheptegai followed his teammate, Jacob Kiplimo, who took the gold in Bathhurst, Australia, with Cheptegai taking bronze. The Ugandan team took the bronze as well.

The World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, will have the finest racers in the world. Joshua Cheptegai will be there and ready to race, defending his 10,000m title from Doha.

Jacob Kiplimo (left) and Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda in Times Square three days before the 2023 United Airlines NYC Half (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly), used with permission.

Joshua Cheptegai is one of the true talents of our sport. His desire to excel, his focus, and his faith make him a tough challenge for anyone who wants to medal at the 5,000m or 10,000m distance.

Watch for Joshua Cheptegai to tease us a bit with his races this summer, and Budapest will be an incredible series of distance races, and Joshua Cheptagai will be there!

 

To read all of our earlier stories in Witness the Wonder, numbers 1-23:

1. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 1; Welcome to the World Champs! https://runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-1-welcome-to-the-world-champs.html

2. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 2, Meeting the Stars of Hungarian Athletics! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-2-meeting-the-stars-of-hungarian-athletics.html

3. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 3, Why you should go to Budapest! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-3.html

4. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 4, Mondo Duplantis & Nafi Thiam are Europe’s finest; how will they do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-3-mondo-duplantis-nafi-thiam-are-europes-finest-how-will-they-do-in-budapest.html

5. Witness the Wonder, World Championships Budapest 2023, Day 5, Just What Will Faith Kipyegon Do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-championships-budapest-2023-day-5-just-what-will-faith-kipyegon-do-in-budapest.html

6. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 6, Mutaz Essa Barshim. Will he take a 4th straight title in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-mutaz-essa-barshim-will-he-take-a-4th-straight-title-in-budapest.html

7. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Outdoor Champs Budapest 2023, Day 7; Noah Lyles wants to burn up the track in Budapest in August! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-outdoor-champs-budapest-2023-noah-lyles-wants-to-burn-up-the-track-in-budapest-in-august.html

8. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 8, all About the National Athletics Center https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-8-all-about-the-national-athletics-center.html

9. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 9: Meet Anita Marton, Hungarian star shot putter with deadly last-round throws! What will she do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-9-meet-anita-marton-hungarian-star-shot-putter-who-has-deadly-last-round-throws-what-will-she-do-in-budapest.html

10. Witness the Wonder, 2023 World Athletics Outdoor Championships, Day 10: Karsten Warhold is back; what will he do in Budapest over the 400-meter hurdles? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-2023-world-athletics-outdoor-championships-day-10-karsten-warhold-is-back-what-will-he-do-in-budapest-over-the-400-meter-hurdles.html 

11. Witness the Wonder World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 11; Wayde Van Niekerk is coming to Budapest! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-11-wayde-van-niekerk-wr-holder-olympic-champions-two-time-world-champion-at-400-meters-has-returned-and-he-wants-to-run-a-sizz.html 

12. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 12, Neeraj Chopra, India’s Javelin star, will he move up to gold in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-neeraj-chopra-indias-javelin-star-will-he-move-up-to-gold-in-budapest.html,

13. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 13: Ryan Crouser overcomes a rainy day at the Drake Relays! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/04/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-13-ryan-crouser-overcomes-a-rainy-day-at-the-drake-relays.html 

14. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Outdoor Championships, Budapest, Day 14: Five Reasons to Go to the World Championships in Budapest! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-outdoor-championships-budapest-day-14-five-reasons-to-go-to-the-world-championships-in-budapest.html

15. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 15, Old and New Stars in Hammer could shine the first weekend of World Champs for Hungary! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-old-and-new-stars-in-hammer-could-shine-first-weekend-of-world-champs-for-hungary.html

16. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships, Budapest 2023, Day 16: Five Ways to Better Enjoy the Budapest World Champs! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-15-five-ways-to-better-enjoy-the-budapest-world-champs.html

17. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 17; Ferdinand Omanyala wants to be on the 100m medal podium this summerhttps://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-17-ferdinand-omanyala-wants-to-be-on-the-100m-medal-podium-this-summer.html

18. Witness the Wonder, World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 18: What will Sifan Hassan do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-18-what-will-sifan-hassan-do-in-budapest.html

19. Witness the Wonder World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 19; Tomas Walsh is from New Zealand, and you better watch him in the Men’s Shot Put final in Budapest! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-19-tomas-walsh-is-from-new-zealand-and-you-better-watch-him-in-the-mens-shot-put-final-in-budapest.html 

20. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships Budapest 2023, Day 20, Grant Holloway wants to Three-Peat in Budapest! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-20-grant-holloway-wants-to-three-peat-in-budapest.html 

21. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Budapest 2023, Day 21, Five Big Stories for the World Champs in Budapest! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-budapest-2023-day-21-five-big-stories-for-the-world-champs-in-budapest.html 

22. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Budapest 2023, Day 22, Six Stories on Hungarian Athletes and their Dreams for Budapest 2023! https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-budapest-2023-day-22-six-stories-on-hungarian-athletes-and-their-dreams-for-budapest-2023.html 

23. Witness the Wonder, World Outdoor Athletics Championships, Budapest 2023, Day 23: Femke Bol What Will She do in Budapest? https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/05/witness-the-wonder-world-outdoor-athletics-championships-budapest-2023-day-23-femke-bol-what-will-she-do-in-budapest.html 

The World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, will be held August 19-27, 2023, and tickets are available now! Click here to learn more about ticket sales: https://tickets.wabudapest23.com/

RunBlogRun suggests a wonderful book on Hungary, The Hungarians, A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat, by Paul Lendvai, Translated by Ann Major, Princeton University Press, www.pupress.princeton.edu.

Need tips for Visiting Budapest and the rest of Hungary? Please go here! Visit Hungary-Wellspring of Wonders! https://visithungary.com/

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