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"In 2016 I became a full-time athlete and in September of that year I started to be coached by Renato Canova, which I believe were two key factors in my journey to running a sub-one-hour half marathon in Valencia.

Before working with Renato, I was self-coached for a year and while I had the knowledge to run a 2:10 or 2:11 marathon, I did not possess the knowledge my coach does of the specific sessions to run faster. My training programme has changed a lot under Renato and under his regime I run faster on my daily runs and I have two to three days behind hard workouts whereas in the past my hard workouts were always every second day. It took a while to adapt to my new training regime and I found at first I spent a lot of time sleeping to recover.
But over time my performances in the training group improved to the point that Abel Kirui (the two-time world champion) was the only guy in front of me ahead of sessions. This filled me lots of confidence as did running my first ever sub-eight minute 3000m. Now, I know to run a sub-eight-minute 3000m is not so special but my previous best was 8:01 set when I was 19 and it was a barrier I wanted to break. Last July I ran a meet in Nembro, Italy, expecting to maybe run 7:58. I had done no specific preparation for the race but I ran 7:52.55 – it was an important breakthrough for me. In September I ran 27:55 for eighth in a 10km in Prague and this gave me the belief I could run a 60:30 half-marathon in Valencia the following month.
That day I ran at a smooth pace and passed 10km in 27:56 – only one second slower than I had ran for that distance in Prague. Three guys moved ahead and I found from 11km on I was running my own. But the pace remained consistent. I ran the race without a watch but at 15km I saw the time and I thought I had a chance of beating one-hour. For the rest of the race I tried to relax as much as possible and maintain my rhythm. To cross the line in 59:48 was in some ways even a bigger achievement then my 2:05 European record time when winning the Fukuoka Marathon in December. To run just under an hour is a major landmark and as significant as running a 3:59 mile compared to that of a 4:01 mile.”

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