By Joan Akello
32 year old 42km Kenyan Marathon champion speaks with Joan Akello about his greatest fear and why police officers are great athletes.
Who is the world record breaker Kipsang?
I am a humble guy from a humble background, hardworking, focused, and an achiever in whatever I try to do.
What do you feel while running?
Nervous and need to promote my brand; we compete under so much pressure and, with the tension, you feel you have to really perform. What you have done in training is what gives you confidence.
What makes you different from a sprinter?
I am a unique marathoner – I understand the sport in detail and try to be patient. Patience is what you require the most and training. Many people mess up with training and their social lifestyle.
What is your idea of Perfect happiness?
Happiness for me is when I plan very well, try to execute something, and I achieve it.
When and were you happiest?
My happiest moment is when I broke the world record on September 29, 2013 in Berlin after running for 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds. I started training in 2003 to break a record and I still want to raise the Kenyan flag.
So what do you do before a competition?
I watch my diet always , I eat mostly energy giving foods like unprocessed maize flour Ugali and vegetables ; I run 170km a week for almost four months and speed walk twice a week. I can walk 150 km a day because performance depends on a runner’s preparation and to race is easier than training.
What is the magic in churning out all these Kenyan champions?
Many come from the rift valley in counties like Uasin Gishu, Keyo, Kericho Baringo and these are close to the Uganda border and the Kenyan lifestyle where from childhood you get used to running 25km in total to and from school and by the time you grow, you have been training and end up qualifying for the races. How is (Stephen) Kiprotich?
You know he is our golden boy, how did you feel when he beat you in 2012?
It was a nice try; I was still waiting to break the world record. It was his time.
You share a name and profession. Why do police officers run and win?
It is always difficult for them to accept defeat.I think it is how we are trained. We have that passion to do things.
What angers you?
I am joyful, so I hate it when people disagree, quarrel, and try to fight.
Do you read books?
No. I love watching movies to learn how to manage crisis situations and get new skills. I like movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
What do you value in friends?
Friends, who are positive in life, advise, are open but not those with ill motives
What do you admire in a man?
Somebody who knows what he is doing and accepts his mistake because we all make them and one who understands.
What do you admire in a woman?
Someone who knows her position, is a lady and most important, understands how to treat men.
How would you like to die?
You know when it comes to dying; it is only God who knows. People die suddenly and it is not something you wish for under normal circumstances. Even if you are sick, you will still wish to grow old, see your grandchildren.
Which living people do you admire?
In football I love Ronaldinho, Messi, Chelsea’s coach Jose Mourinho, and great guys like Haile Gebrselassie.
Why do you love them?
They were great performers, and took and maintained the top level for long, which is not easy.
What is your greatest fear?
I fear to lose.