In Nanning, I saw that almost nobody knew something about Wilson Kiprop. Many journalists were surprised to meet, during the press conference, an athlete able to speak with clear voice, to talk properly and to explain his feeling before and during the race.
Since I'm sure Wilson can become one of the best runners not only in road races, but also in track and cross, I want to illustrate his history, his character and his attitudes, so nobody can be surprised in the future.
Wilson is born on 14th of April 1987. Unlike the most part of African runners, his date of birth is correct (normally there are from 2 till 6 years of difference, more when we speak about Ethiopians).
He started running after finishing high school,in 2006. In 2007 he moved to Eldoret, and met Yobes Ondieki, that became his coach for all the season. In the same period, he went under the management of Gianni Demadonna.
He looked for track competitions. Gianni organised for him a race in Belgrade (29th of May 2008), where Wilson ran 13'45"38 (it was the only competition on that distance).
After 3 easy road races, he came back to Kenya, leaving Yobes and joining the camp of Gianni in Iten. Here he found my "disciple" and colleague Gabriele Nicola (young Italian from my same city, Turin, following me with a lot of passion and interest for Athletics, during the last 15 years), and started to have a more precise project.
He went, during Winter, for one indoor race of 5000m in Dusseldorf, improving his PB to 13'30"13 (13th of February, 2009), but his activity was directed on Cross (he won in Rovereto) and Road (Corrida di San Geminiano, 13 km).
After coming back to Kenya, he continued his preparation, and, on the first of June, went to Hengelo running the race of 1 HOUR (Gebrselassie tried, unsuccessfully, to better his WR), finishing with 20,756 km.
His career changed when he came back. He had some problem in one leg, in his back and, consequently, in all his body. Unlike the most part of African runners, he accepted the idea to build his body, going for a long period (about 6 months) 3-4 times per week in the gym, working under the control of a very good and professional physio we have in Iten (from Nederland, named Jeroen Deen), and with the basic technical assistance of Gabriele Nicola.
At the beginning of this year, I started to follow technically the evolution of Wilson, giving a plan and a strategy, together Gabriele. We sent him to Paris HM on 7th of March, for controlling the level of his endurance. He won in 61'26", but the conditions were terrible : snow and 5° negative. Anyway, he was able to beat the Ethiopian Lilesa, already under 60' in the season.
When he came back, I decided to try something different : to move to marathon, ONLY for having a motivation for a very high volume, but at the same time maintaining a lot of specific speed in his training.
The goal was Prague (9th of May). Wilson ran 2:09:09, till 37 km with the winner, at the end paying the lack of some specific workout for modifying his metabolism (that I didn't want to do, since my goal is to use high volume as aerobic base for specific training for 10000m).
He was able to recover in one week. After 3 weeks, Wilson went to run in Kitale (2300m of altitude) his PB in 10000m in 28'17",alone, winning Provincial Championships for qualifying for Kenyan Championships.
We used, at that time, a specific program for 10000m, including track sessions of 12-15 km with a lot of tests faster than the speed of the race, without reducing the long run. For example, 6 days before National Championships he ran 30 km in 1 hr 36' with full control about his effort.
In Nairobi, on the day of National Championships (26th of June), he surprised myself, too. I knew he could run about the WR in altitude (27'44"), but I could'nt suppose Wilson able running 27'26"93, with a so fast final.
Going in the Team for African Championships, we clarified immediately the targets of the season : to try to win African in 10000m, and after to go directly for a medal in WHMChampionships.
His competition in African Championships was much more significative than National Championships, because was tactic (14'03" the first 5 km), and at the end he had to defeat in the last lap the Ugandan Moses Kipsiro, one of the fastest finisseur in the World. The second half of Wilson was 13'29", his last lap about 55" with a very fast last km.
At 8th of August, we started the specific preparetion for HM. I spoke with AK, explaining that there was a very precise plan regarding Florence Kiplagat and Wilson Kiprop, and the Federation delayed the selection of the Team till 10th of September, waiting for Lille HM (4th of September), where I went with both the athletes, winners with 1:07:40 (Florence) and 59:39 (Wilson), with the only goal to be selected in the Team.
The last period was completely dedicated to the development of specific endurance, trying to extend the ability to last at speed of 3'10" (Florence) and 2'46" (Wilson).
We knew very well that to beat Zersenay Tadese was very difficult, and we needed a value of 58'40", looking for the superior final speed.
In the race, everything worked very well. Sammy Kitwara, Silas Kipruto and Titus Masai were able to do what we planned before : to stay with Tadese after 10 km, making him nervous about the new situation (in the past, after his attack always was able to be alone).
I think that Wilson can last long time, because is very serious, concentrated, and has a high level of sensibility. He is able to control his body, knows what he has to do for preserving his efficiency (from next week, the plan is to go in the gym 3 times per week, again, till 10th of December), and is not thirsty of money, understanding that ONLY with a precise TECHNICAL STRATEGY today is possible to earn important prizes and to create an important image.
This is the new guy, and I think his rise to the top is not short lived.