By Morris Rawal
Joshua Cheptegei, a long distance runner from Uganda, finished 2022 in grand fashion on New Year’s Eve by taking first place in the San Silvestre Vallecana in Madrid, Spain.
Cheptegei, who had earlier in the day visited the Santiago Bernabéu of Real Madrid, emerged at the head of the field with a winning time of 27 minutes and 9 seconds.
Cheptegei has not competed since the 5000-meter final of the Oregon World Athletics Championships in July 2022, when he experienced knee issues.
With times of 27:11 and 27:53, Mohamed “Mo” Katir El Haouzi and Jess Ramos of Spain came in second and third, respectively.
Since 1964, Madrid, Spain has staged the San Silvestre Vallecana, an annual 10 km road race, on December 31. It comes in two versions: a race for elite professional runners and a fun run for amateur athletes. Up to 40,000 people participated in the event in 2012, breaking its previous participation record.
It is based on the Brazilian race known as the Saint Silvester Road Race, which has been going on since 1925 and inspired many other New Year’s Eve competitions. The San Silvestre Vallecana is one of the city’s most important yearly running events, along with the Madrid Marathon.