Joyce Chepkirui is a Kenyan long-distance runner who professionally competes at worldwide road running events. She established herself as a half marathon runner and winning races in Granollers, Bogotá and Gothenburg. She set a best of 1:06:19 hours to win the 2014 Prague Half Marathon. She also competes in 10K road races and her personal best of 30:38 minutes makes her the fifth fastest woman ever. She began competing in cross country running in 2012 and won the Kenyan and African titles. Joyce also competes on the track over 1500 metres and was the silver medallist at the 2011 All-Africa Games. In 2014 she won her first marathon in Honolulu and recently her second one in Amsterdam. Dag van de Vrouwen got the opportunity to interview Joyce Chepkirui and her husband Erick Kibet who is a professional runner as well.
Joyce: I thanked God and I felt that I became a real marathoner.
Joyce: I didn't have fueling issues this time. There was more in reserves, but as it was cold, wet and slippery, I didn't want to risk.
Erick: Training was fantastic in Kenya in preparation for Prague. We knew that the course is very good and thinking now, if we didn't go under 31 minutes for first 10km, we would probably have a chance for even faster half marathon time, faster than 66 minutes.
Erick: It is quite simple - Team work, hard work, working for the dreams.
Joyce: Time is needed for better time. And more racing opportunities. I believe that I would run under 2:22:15 if we had perfect day in Amsterdam this year. Some good 10K / half marathon athletes adjust to marathon quickly, some need more time, some simply never succeed in getting to the level they have reached over 10K / half marathon.
Joyce: I never thought about this, but now that I gave this a thought, you are right. Not sure what to make of this observation and let's see if this remains as a constant.
Erick: We have reduced gym-work now that Joyce has transitioned to marathon. She does some injury prevention work, but we did cut back on heavier weights when compared to 10K / half marathon days.
Erick: We love our sport and sometimes we jog day after the race, talk, spend more time with friends and try to relax. And we also take several weeks off after marathons.
Joyce & Erick: We met through running more than 10 years ago. It was a love on first sight and we continue to grow together as individuals and as a couple.
Joyce & Erick: Joyce makes some of best chappati there is! Her chappati with carrots is fantastic - sweet, with a touch of salt. For us, the more natural the foods are, the better. Simple, local, healthy.
Joyce & Erick: We have never visited the Netherlands during vacation or off-season, hence we were not trying new foods, as we don't experiment before/ immediately after competition.
Joyce & Erick: Unfortunately not, as before the race it is about race and after the race we usually fly home immediately the following day. However, we are planning to spend vacation in Europe in 2016 and spending several days in Amsterdam is scheduled, especially as adidas, who is our sponsor, has HQ in Amsterdam.
Joyce: I love to compete and run as fast as I can. It is road, time and me.
Joyce: To run Olympic marathon, represent Kenya and be on the podium.
Joyce: Through my running I want to feel accomplished and use the opportunity to change lives of my family and the community.
Joyce & Erick: We enjoy animals - cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep, rabbits and we are planning to invest in real estate and house visiting recreational and professional runners from various countries and do a bit more farming, while having balance of work and enjoyment.
Joyce & Erick: We believe in listening to how body and mind respond to training and we also believe in training with other runners, with some of them being faster and stronger than one is, as that will help the growth.
Joyce & Erick: We live life by God - Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.