Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei back at NN Zevenheuvelenloop


📸: Sonja Jaarsveld

Nijmegen – Olympic champion 5,000 meters and four-time winner of the NN Zevenheuvelenloop Joshua Cheptegei will start the Nijmegen autumn classic on Sunday 21 November. Cheptegei won the NN Zevenheuvelenloop four times, most recently in 2018. Last summer, the Ugandan athlete captured the Olympic title in the 5,000 meters. In the women's race, Hellen Obiri is also an absolute world champion at the start. Obiri took silver in the 5,000 meters in Tokyo.

Olympic champion in Tokyo

Joshua Cheptegei runs his first road race after the Olympic Games at the NN Zevenheuvelenloop. The 25-year-old runner won a silver medal in the 10,000 meters in Tokyo. A few days later, Cheptegei took the Olympic title in the 5,000 meters. With a flaming final sprint of more than 400 meters, the Ugandan ran sovereignly to the title. Cheptegei has been nominated for World Athlete of the Year by the World Athletics Federation for his achievements in 2021. In 2020 he was also on track with world records in the 5,000 meters on the track (12:35.36), 5 kilometers on the road (12:51) and 10,000 meters on the track (26:11.00). Cheptegei has won two world titles in his career so far: in 2019 on the cross and in the same year on the 10,000 meters.

Mister Seven Hills

Cheptegei won the NN Zevenheuvelenloop in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. This makes him Mister Zevenheuvelen and the only athlete to win four times in Nijmegen. In 2015, Cheptegei was still a relatively unknown athlete when he won the very stormy edition of the NN Zevenheuvelenloop. In 2016, he came back and successfully defended his title. After taking his first global medal in the summer of 2017, silver in the 10,000 meters, he came to Nijmegen for the third time with the ambition to improve the world record in the 15 kilometers. This world record attempt ended in three seconds. A year later Cheptegei came back for the fourth time and took the world record with 41:05 with flying colors.

Joshua Cheptegei: “I'm looking forward to running my favorite course in Nijmegen. The NN Zevenheuvelenloop is important to me, because this race has brought me fame in the world. I hope to see all the runners back on the course on November 21!”

Hellen Obiri leads women's field

Four-time world champion Hellen Obiri will be at the start of the NN Zevenheuvelenloop for the first time. Obiri won the silver medal in the 5,000 meters in Tokyo behind Sifan Hassan. In the 10,000 meters she finished fourth in a new personal best of 30:24.27. In 2016, the 31-year-old Kenyan also finished second in the Olympic 5,000 meters. Obiri doesn't have as much experience on the road as on the track. She did run a half marathon in 1:04:51 in the spring. She won world titles twice in the 5,000 meters (2017 and 2019), the 3000 meters indoor (2012) and the cross (2019).