Joan Cherop and Kenneth Kemboi are professional marathon runners from Kenya. Joan won the Detroit marathon in 2019, and Kenneth has won the Palermo City marathon in Italy, and finished 2nd in the Eldoret City marathon in Kenya. Get to know more about Joan Cherop and Kenneth Kemboi and why they are so grateful to be working with Enda!
What do you do to get yourself out of a slump (a bad mood, poor result, bad day..)?
Joan Cherop: Normally, I will step out in my running gear, not really to go run but just for a long walk. For poor race results, I never want to beat myself up. So, I will go out and do a really slow jog while trying to think of what needs to improve. Depending on how long my monologue takes, I might jog for 5KMs or 10Kms. Once in a while, I’ve also tried distracting myself by reading novels about other athletic sport activities.
Kenneth Kemboi: I am always pumped up for the morning training sessions, but on a bad day I have often skipped morning training for a nap or gardening but always ensure to do the day’s session in the evening. I believe if mornings are tough, maybe noon or evening will be better. On instances where I had a bad race day or performance was not what I expected, I prefer to do a 20-30 min jog alone during my recovery time. I prefer to recover alone to avoid the peer pressure of deviating from my rest routine…
What is your favourite part about working with Enda? What is something they do that you really appreciate?
JC: I like the fact that they listen to me even if they may not have a solution to some of my challenges. At least they discuss it and give me feedback on what is possible and what is not. I appreciate that they have also continuously offered support with running gear and also helped travel expenses to races.
KK: That they provide me with training gear, no struggle with gear for training. Enda focuses on upcoming talents, I have won races, but I am not in any way a big renowned elite runner. That they do not go for top talent but instead nurture unknown but talented athletes is my best thing to note about Enda. Down to earth.
How do you prepare for a race/competition/event? Do you have any rituals?
JC: Eating a banana the night before race day is a must! A week to a major race, I prefer to focus so much on hydration regardless of the temperature conditions wherever I will be racing. I think a banana the night before race day ensures I do not drop out. I keep repeating my prayer quietly each time I feel nervous, even during the race.
KK: I am always praying for my opponents, especially when the elite field includes people I’ve never raced with before. I will then try and visualize the entire course, and do so repeatedly for a course I will be racing on for the first time. I once did a major race and stopped during the race, that was the genesis of this ritual (haha!).
(ed. note: interview has been edited for length and clarity)