"I would not have done it without the support of my training partners"
Joshua Cheptegei learnt a valuable lesson from revered marathon great Eliud Kipchoge, a lesson he put to good use on the way to breaking Kenenisa Bekele's sixteen-year 5000m record last week.
"Kipchoge says 100% of me is less important than 1% of the group and I really believe in this philosophy," Cheptegei told New Vision Sport.
"So I really want to thank my training partners. Breaking the 5000m was only possible because they actually motivated me. They pushed me to run faster and faster."
Cheptegei, currently in quarantine following his return from Monaco, attained arguably the greatest milestone of his already glittering career after going down in history as the fastest man across 5000m with a time of 12:35.36 at the Diamond League Meet in Herculis, Monaco.
Cheptegei says that without the company of his team-mates, the endless months of training for his record-setting performance would have been unbearable.
"I put in a lot of hard work," explained Cheptegei, also reigning 10,000m and senior cross country world champion.
"When the announcement of the Olympics was made in March, I was already in great shape because I was preparing for the World Half-marathon championship, and also I had just broken the 5km world record in Monaco on February 16.
"Of course the news of the cancellation of the Olympics was a really big blow to me because I was in the right moment and form. But I continued to work hard because my aim was now to go and make history in the 5000m in Monaco.
"But I would not have done it without the support of my training partners. You know I have worked hard from January to August."
One of Cheptegei's training partners, Stephen Kissa, was the last of the three pacesetters in Monaco, falling off halfway through the race to clear the way for his compatriot's date with history.
Cheptegei also owns the 5km and 15km road records in addition to the major titles aforesaid.