Gladys Chepngetich earned All American honors finishing 24th at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. She was the 4th Freshman overall transitioning quickly to college life in the U.S. after an arduous journey from Kenya.
Her coach, Vicky Pounds, manages the Clemson women on V.O2. She discusses Glady’s transition and why her team loves using the app to help manage their training.
What was Gladys’ running background coming into her freshman year?
Gladys joined a training camp in Kenya in July 2021. In August 2022, she went to the embassy for a visa to come and attend school and run for Clemson but was denied, so she returned to her camp to continue her training. In January 2023, she went to Uganda for her visa and was denied, and then she traveled to Burundi and was again denied. She then returned to camp to train for a month before traveling to Zambia, where she was again denied. Instead of returning to camp, she stayed in Zambia and re-applied for her visa a month later. This time she got it! It was a tough journey but she finally made it to Clemson.
What were your expectations and goals for her first collegiate season?
Of course, when you bring an athlete like Gladys in you hope that they are able to contribute to the team right away on a conference and even national level, but as a coach, you have to consider how well any first-year student will transition into school and in Gladys’s case how well she would transition into a new country. I honestly was just happy to have her on the team.
Can you talk a little bit about her transition and progress during the year leading up to Nationals?
Obviously, the year leading up to Nationals was one of frustration and disappointment for Gladys as she was trying to get her visa to come to the United States. Her determination and trust in God paid off. She is just so grateful and happy to be in Clemson, pursuing her dreams of running.
What does her training look like?
Her training consists of intervals, sustained runs or cruise intervals, long runs and recovery runs. Nothing crazy.
What are her goals for indoor/outdoor?
Believe it or not, Gladys is more of a middle-distance runner. She will be transitioning down to the 800m and the mile. We look for her to contribute at the ACC conference, and if she does that, she has a good chance of making it to Nationals.
Are there any features or aspects of training on V.O2 that has helped your athletes?
Having access to V.O2 allows my athletes to have an organized format to relay their training back to me. They really like how easily runs in VDOT can be adjusted and moved around.
“VDOT benefits me as an athlete because it allows me to track all my training and progress. It is also one of the main ways I communicate with my coach about my training. One aspect of the app I find most helpful is how it tailors my paces to my current fitness level.” – Athlete Grace Hanratty