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World Athletics Championships Oregon22

Series10 Nov 2014

Work, rest and play – Joyce Chepkirui


Joyce Chepkirui on her way to winning the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon (© VIctah Sailer for Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon)

Commonwealth and African 10,000m champion Joyce Chepkirui has enjoyed a golden 2014, which has also included a series of impressive victories on the roads at a several top quality races.

The rising Kenyan distance runner is also the latest athlete to take our work, rest, play questions.

Joyce at work

What is your favourite training session?

Joyce Chepkirui: I like long runs, about 30 kilometres, at a moderate to fast pace. They last long and you have a feeling that you are doing something good.

What are your three favourite things about being an athlete?

JC: Competing at a high level, travel, and shopping with friends when I’m overseas.

Who is your favourite training partner?

JC: My husband and coach, Erick Kibet. He understands me well and he helps me in training to ask a lot of questions of myself.

Where is your favourite training venue?

JC: I live and train in Iten and I like training at our local track, at Lornah Kiplagat’s gym or on the many different roads we have for long runs or fartlek sessions.

What is the worst thing about being an athlete?

JC: The fact you often have to function on schedules which don’t suit you and your needs. Of course, it is a very small price to pay.

Joyce at rest

What is your favourite music to chill to?

JC: I listen to various Kenyan music and I like some modern and old R&B.

Describe your perfect day without training.

JC: Spending time with my family and visiting some good friends, like Wilson and Caroh (Wilson Chebet the three-time Amsterdam Marathon winner and his wife) or Emily and Edward (Emily Chebet the two-time world cross-country champion and her husband and coach Edward Muge). We talk, catch up and relax.

What is your favourite stress reliever?

JC: Good training. I get peace from training well, resting well, having a massage. From this, I gain confidence and then there is no reason to stress.

If you could pick any other athlete in the world with whom to relax, who would it be and why?

JC: Emily Chebet. We are good friends, she is very kind and sometimes funny, and I feel close to her.

Where is your favourite place to relax?

JC: I like being around home. Home is home, and with dogs, cows, sheep and chickens around there is always something to smile about.

Joyce at play

When did your interest and fondness for flowers begin?

JC: I just love flowers. Since a young age I loved smelling them, looking at them and picking them. After races, if I make the podium, I usually get flowers and I make sure I always give them to young spectators.

Do you have a favourite flower?

JC: I don’t have a favourite flower. As long as they are big, colourful and smell nice I am happy.

Do you grow your own flowers and, if so, how does this help your athletics?

JC: Flower farming is good business in Kenya and I might try it in the future. It is serious work and for now I just have flower beds around house, which I keep neat and healthy. Small errands at home, like keeping an eye on flowers or fixing this or that, create a positive distraction from upcoming competitions, injuries or any other challenge you face as an athlete.

Which meeting or race has handed you the best bouquet of flowers?

JC: Tough question. Hmm… I remember the Prague Half Marathon from this year and the bouquet I got. It was green, with small red flowers and big yellow sunflowers. After the ceremony, on the way to press conference, I gave the bouquet to a young boy spectator and his eyes became bigger than his glasses. He was very, very happy and shy.

If you were a type of flower, what would you be?

JC: Maybe a rose. It is a classic. People are familiar with what it looks like and the meaning of a rose.

Steve Landells for the IAAF