Is there any bar that Joshua Cheptegei wont clear? The man isn't just winning track and road races, he is breaking world records for fun. This year alone he has run thrice and broken world records in each of those races.
The last time something similar happened was 12 years ago in Beijing. Usain Bolt shattered 3 records at the same event, and it was the Olympics, the holy grail of field and track. That is simply amazing, but they were sprint records which arguably don't require the same kind of stamina as long-distance races.
Joshua Cheptegei will have his moment too at the Olympics one day soon. And I can't help think that the occurrence of his records suggest that he had timed this for the now postponed Tokyo Olympics. Joshua Cheptegei says he will be waiting and there are no doubts about that in anyone's mind.
But with or without Olympics there is a tendency to challenge the legitimacy of world records all the time. And Joshua Cheptegei's current records will be no exception. His records will inspire controversy and awe given that there was wave light technology that uses flashing lights to show the pace needed to break records. Hecklers will say he was aided into knowing what to do and when.
Yes, that can present runners with some kind of motivational advantage in a business where small margins count. Now, we all know Cheptegei's abilities and its hypothetical to imagine what his mindset would be like if the lights were absent. But it's telling that by lap 20 he knew where he needed to be and that was in the blue light zone steadily ahead of the green zone that marked current record pace.
Then there are the Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes, which contain a carbon plate and a unique foam, and have been billed as the "fastest shoes ever". Nike athletes have also dominated marathon running and the company's new road shoe, the Alpha fly, meanwhile, is said to improve running economy by an estimated 8%. That is a huge leap in a discipline of ridiculously small steps.
But now isn't the time to rain on any parade. Besides it's just vain to engage in what will clearly become a subjective debate. For instance, I am very sure that no number of carbon plates and flashing lights would propel yours truly to a podium finish at the MTN 10Km. Yes, technology has its clear advantages in all sports. The thing though is you must be good enough in the first place to take advantage of any aids. And I hope Mo Farah and his cohorts from Ethiopia and Kenya will all be donning Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes in Tokyo next year, so we can level the ground and put this to bed once and for all.
Either way, it is indeed a nice time to be Ugandan. I never dreamt there would be a time we would take Olympic gold medals for granted and be discussing world records instead. And let's be honest the whole world will be expecting Joshua Cheptegei to lower his own records over the 5000m and 10000m in Tokyo next year. Ambitious maybe but at this moment it seems that no record is beyond reach for this boy.
The Olympics therefore can't come soon enough for Joshua Cheptegei. He needs to add that Olympic double to the Commonwealth and World Championship Golds already on his wall. Then he can contemplate following in the footsteps of other greats and move into the Marathon or just hang around and show Joshua Kiplimo the ropes.