Long-distance star Geoffrey Kamworor has his eyes set on completing a hat-trick of IAAF World Half Marathon Championship titles when he takes to the road in Valencia this weekend.
The Kenyan -- the current New York City Marathon champion -- will go into the event in Spain as the overwhelming favourite, and looking to follow in the footsteps of compatriot Tegla Loroupe, who won three consecutive titles between 1997 and 1999.
KweséESPN: What have your preparations been like?
Kamworor: First and foremost, I would like to thank God for giving me good health. My preparations have so far been good and the start of the season has been good too. I have managed to run two cross country events locally as part of my build-up where I got encouraging results. I can say preparations have been good.
KweséESPN: You go to Valencia just a few months after winning the New York City Marathon. Does this give you extra motivation?
Kamworor: Winning the New York Marathon really motivated me, especially since it was my first major victory. Last season the training went well, just like how this season is turning out ahead of the World Half Marathon Championship. It's my third time to feature in the event and I am looking forward to [winning] it again.
KweséESPN: How important is it for you to win this time round?
Kamworor: It is really special. It's not easy to win three consecutive titles; I will be fighting for this third one. I have sacrificed a lot for this event; I never went outside the country for any races since New York [because] my focus was mainly on this Championship.
KweséESPN: What are your thoughts on Team Kenya's composition, going to Valencia?
Kamworor: The athletes are not new names to me, although we have never raced in same race. I have only raced Leonard Barsoston on track and cross country but never on road. As for Alex Oloitiptip, Barselius Kipyego, and Jorum Okombo, we have never raced together. What I expect is teamwork and creating a faster race, if they accept to co-operate as a team.
KweséESPN: Any particular athletes you need to look out for this weekend?
Kamworor: I expect strong athletes from countries like Ethiopia, Turkey -- which has Kenyan-born athletes -- and also Bahrain. I expect stiff competition from them, but what I believe in is my training.
KweséESPN: What's the secret to your success?
Kamworor: Hard work, self-discipline, and the advice I get from my coach. I follow what my coach says, and also being around people like Eliud Kipchoge, who is our mentor. He is encouraging us to work hard and be successful. Eliud has assisted me so much in my life; he is like my big brother and the one who guides me. He has been on top for 15 years.
KweséESPN: What are your plans for the rest of this season?
Kamworor: I focus on one thing at a time, for now it's the World Half Marathon Championship and nothing else, I do not have any plans so far, I will know what will follow after this event. When this outing is over I will sit down with my coach and we will know what's next.