ELDORET, Kenya - Kenyan athletes are known as some of the best runners in the world. Chief among them is Vivian Cheruiyot, who holds the Kenyan women's record in the 5,000 meters and is expected to take home medals this year at the London Olympics.
At 1.6 meters and barely 39 kilos, Vivian Cheruiyot may not appear to be much of a threat. But she has proven to be ferocious on the track.
The 28-year-old Kenyan is the current women’s world champion in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter, which she secured in Daegu, Korea last year.
Vivian's husband Moses Kiplagat has been her coach since 2006.
“I’ve been running good, since I’ve gotten married to Moses. He’s really supporting me, especially in training,” she explained.
Vivian’s cousin Wilfred Kimitei, also a competitive runner, sets the pace for her training runs. He lives full-time with her and Moses at their home in Eldoret. “Vivian is very humble, very honest, when she says something, she does it. I’m with her all the time, and she is somebody, really, very good,” he noted.
But being a good runner is only half the battle. What makes her a champion is her ability to mentally block out everything around her when she's on the track.
“When I’m going running somewhere, in a competition, it’s only me and my mind," said Cheruiyot. "I do not see somebody else beside me or other side, no. I just run and I know that I’m going to run good."
This unwavering confidence on the track has not gone unnoticed by her younger fans.
“Most of them, they want, especially girls, you will find, very small girls, they say, I want to be like Vivian, I want to run like Vivian.” stated Cheruiyot.
Before 2008, when Pamela Jelimo won the 800 meters in Beijing, no Kenyan woman had ever brought home Olympic gold. But Vivian has no doubts she will succeed in London this summer.