12 Sep 1996
Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei is firmly established as one of the NN Running Team’s superstar athletes.
Born in Kapchorwa – the second eldest of nine siblings – Joshua proved his rare ability when in his first international race he placed second to double World Half-Marathon and Cross Country champion and fellow NN Running Team member Geoffrey Kamworor at the 2014 TCS World 10km in Bangalore.
A little over two months later he further cemented that potential by romping to the World U20 10,000m title in Eugene, Oregon to announce his arrival on the international championship stage.
After a stint training in Kaptagat, Kenya Joshua further revealed his versatility in 2015 by finishing ninth in the 10,000m final at the Beijing World Championships and setting a Ugandan 10km record of 27:50 in Berlin.
In 2016 he placed eighth and sixth in the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m finals, respectively and set national records on the road over both 5km (13:24) and 10km (27:46).
The following year he made another huge advance in his career; setting PB’s over 3000m (7:34.96), 5000m (12:59.83) and 10,000m (26:49.94) – the latter time recorded when winning World Championships silver in London behind British endurance icon Mo Farah.
The Ugandan then ended his year in impressive fashion on the road. He set a national 10km record with 27:29 to win in Durban and further underlined his running gifts by securing a hattrick of victories in the NN Seven Hills race, recording 41:16 – the second fastest 15km time in history.
In Gold Coast, Australia in April, 2018, Joshua underlined his track gifts by becoming only the second man in history to complete the 5000m and 10,000m double at the Commonwealth Games.
After struggling for a spell with a knee injury during the heart of 2018 he bounced back in style by setting a national 10km road record of 27:16 in Durban before wiping eight seconds from the 15km world record by running a stunning 41:05 to claim a fourth successive victory in the NN Seven Hills race in Nijmegen.
His rising status was then further cemented during an outstanding 2019. In March he claimed a four-second win on a brutally tough course in Aarhus, Denmark to land the World Cross Country title before six months later claiming the world 10,000m title by out-sprinting Yomif Kejelcha to win in a world leading mark of 26:48.36.
Joshua then capped a momentous 2019 by chipping six seconds from the world 10km road record, recording a blistering 26:38 in Valencia.
In February 2020 he continued his rich vein of form, wiping 27 seconds from the world 5km road record with a scintillating 12:51 clocking on the streets of Monaco.
On his return to the Principality in August, Joshua continued his world-record breaking streak by wiping 1.99secs from Kenenisa Bekele’s 16-year-old 5000m mark. In an electrifying display of distance running the Ugandan recorded a dazzling time of 12:35.36.
He ended his glittering 2020 track season by smashing Kenenisa Bekele’s world 10,000m record by more than six-and-a-half seconds with a dazzling display at the NN Valencia World Record Day.
The 24-year-old Ugandan superstar gave another glorious demonstration of his stellar endurance running gifts by completing the 25-lap distance in a time of 26:11.00 to erase Bekele’s 15-year-old mark of 26:17.53 from the record books.
Joshua wrote the latest chapter in his glittering career at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. After winning silver in the 10,000m (27:43.63) he returned eight days later in the Olympic Stadium to strike 5000m gold in 12:58.15.
The Ugandan kick-started his 2022 season by winning the Cannes 10km in 26:49 – the sixth fastest time in history for the distance on the road. As the season continued Cheptegei won the 5000m at the Prefontaine Classic (12:57.99) and later became 10,000m world champion at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon (27:27.43).
Joshua's 2023 season started with the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia. In difficult circumstances with very high temperatures, Cheptegei finished 3rd in 29:37. Only a month later the Ugandan traveled to New York City for the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. He finished 2nd in 1:02:09. Later, in August it was time for Joshua to travel to Budapest and defend his 10.000m world title. And with success, because he blew away the competition by running a 27:51.42 and claiming his third 10.000m world title in a row.
Did You Know?
Joshua studied literature at university and adds: “Literature has been my passion. I love reading books.”