Groveland’s Marko Cheseto Rewrites the World Record Book
By Kevin Grogan
Six months after setting the double-amputee World Record at the Boston Marathon (02:42:24), Groveland resident Marko Chesto shattered his own record last week by finishing the Chicago Marathon in 2:37:23, breaking his old record by five minutes. The former University of Alaska (via Kenya) runner moved to Lake County in 2018, was rewarded for his Chicago efforts this week as Nike Running signed him to a full sponsorship deal.
Marko stopped by Dash-Sports in Downtown Clermont yesterday to bring us up to speed.
Tablet: 2:37:23 this past weekend at the Chicago Marathon raising the bar!; shaving off five minutes for the double amputee World Record. Tell us a bit about the windy conditions?
Cheseto: I felt good at the start of the race, it was chilly but I assumed it was going to warm up as we get started. But at mile 14 I was still not feeling warm and at that point, there was a headwind. Even though the temperature was at low 40s it felt colder than that. My blades are flat and do not have very good aerodynamics.
Tablet: Just your third marathon attempt. What made this one so much quicker?
Cheseto: The first two marathons were learning moments. There is so much I still have to learn on how to effectively and efficiently run a marathon. I had to work on reducing weight and increasing my running volume. Chicago is also a flat and fast course.
Tablet: It is documented that your only real training partner is your stopwatch. How tough is this with your training volume?
Cheseto: It’s true, I don’t have training partners. I work full time at Prosthetic and Orthotics Associates in Orlando as a prosthetic technician, so training alone is more effective for time management, but training partners will be good. It’s tough to train solo but when you know in your head there is no other way you have to adapt. We are also still new in Clermont, so still learning the area and making friends.
Tablet: Just signed a longer deal with Nike. Talk a bit about this partnership?
Cheseto: I am now a Nike sponsored athlete. This is big because now I can put more effort into my training knowing that I can support my family and my running career. I am very grateful for this opportunity. As an amputee running marathons, there is no prize money for running fastest times. However, next year Boston will have an elite para category for ambulatory with prize money. For Nike to support me, means a lot. I can’t thank them enough.
Tablet: While you’re a professional runner, talk about what you do for Prosthetic & Orthotic Associates of Orlando?
Cheseto: I am a prosthetic technician, I do socket lamination, and work with patients on making sure the fit is right and aligned. I also offer emotional support to newer amputees.
Tablet: Often seen on the South Lake Trail and also the Bradshaw Loop (Clermont Clay). You really enjoy being among the running community when you can. Is this a reflection on your Kenyan roots?
Cheseto: We as humans do better when we live and work together as a community. We don’t have to wait until we are responding to an emergency to interact. It’s better to know your neighbors. A family is people you are close with. It’s different from relatives, those are blood-related. Your community is your immediate family. My relatives are in Kenya but my family is Clermont/ Groveland/Orlando community. And if we can all embrace this, we will have safer and loving neighborhoods.
Tablet: With Boston Marathon later this year, what is the biggest challenge for you coming off this epic Chicago Marathon?
Cheseto: Staying in shape. Running a marathon is not the biggest challenge, it’s training for it. This last training circle after Boston prior to Chicago, I ran over 800 miles in training in readiness for 26.2 miles. Those are countless hours of excruciating mental and physical pain.
Tablet: Lake County is quite a ways from home. What do you like about Central Florida most?
Cheseto: The weather. Remember, I lost my legs due to frostbite, so cold is my least favorite factor. This is my 11 years in the United States; 10 in Alaska and now one in Florida. I have been coming to Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates since 2014. When I decided I was looking for a place I can train year-round, it made sense to move closer to where my feet are fitted. Additionally, the owner of POA Stan Patterson gave me and my family huge support so we decided we were moving to Florida. He has been a father figure to me. He has done so much for me including suggesting we live in the Clermont area because it’s a great running community with ”hills” in central Florida.