Olympic champion Jepchirchir gets a heros welcome upon returning from New York
Speedster Peres Jepchirchir received a rousing welcome home on Friday following her feat at the New York City Marathon.
Business at the Eldoret International Airport almost came to a standstill as the triumphant athlete was received by relatives and friends amidst ululations and songs in her praise.
The carnival atmosphere was further exuberated by the fact that Jepchirchir, who came second to none in the New York Marathon that was to celebrate 50 years since inception , was recently named the Patron of Moi Girls Kapsowar High School where she recently organized a charity race to sensitize on environmental conservation.
During the homecoming, Jepchirchir, 28, said she was elated to have won the marathon in her debut and especially after clinching the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, Japan, in her first ever attempt at the global showcase.
Jepchirchir won the iconic New York marathon in a time of 2.22.39 beating her compatriot Viola Lagat to the second position while Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh was placed third.
The 28 -year -old is the first Kenyan athlete to win an Olympic gold and a major world marathon in the same year.
A former world half marathon record holder, Jepchirchir said she is confident of excelling in both meetings due to rigorous training coupled with prayers. “I couldn’t have done it were it not for training hard and looking up to God for divine intervention. I must also thank my family for their encouragement,” she said.
Jepchirchir, who is also a former Saitama Marathon champion, said all along, she encouraged her compatriot Lagat to push harder to remain in the pack after she appeared to be tiring at 27kilometres .
“As I was running when we were approaching the 35 kilometer mark, I looked back and saw Lagat heaving and puffing and I told her, Come on, just summon your willpower and confidence.
She heeded my advice and I was glad that she wound up second.”said Jepchirchir.
In the meantime, Jepchirchir has said she will take a break before preparing for next season’s events.
“I’m going to take a break as I wait for next season. For now, I don’t know which race I will compete in and would rather focus on regaining my energy and celebrate the feat with my family,” said Jepchirchir.