The greatest marathoner ever: What you need to know about Eliud Kipchoge


The greatest marathoner ever: What you need to know about Eliud Kipchoge
Athletics - Berlin Marathon - Berlin, Germany - September 16, 2018 Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge celebrates winning the Berlin Marathon and breaking the World Record REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

In Summary

  • Eliud Kipchoge on Sunday broke the men's 2018 Berlin Marathon record by clocking 2:1:39.
  • He finished a head of Amos Kipruto and Wilson Kipsang who crossed the finish line at 2:06:23 and 2:06:48 respectively
  • He is a seasoned Olympic champion who has won 10 of 11 champions he has entered.

Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is quite easily the most popular man in Kenya and possibly Berlin, Germany at the moment.

Kipchoge, the widely considered distance running version of Usain Bolt, amazed many on Sunday when he clocked 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon to break the men’s world record previously held by Dennis Kimetto.

Pundits have described Kipchoge as many things but, perhaps, the one that stands out most is New York Times’ piece on the marathoner titled: “Eliud Kipchoge is the Greatest Marathoner, Ever.”

But just how well do Kenyans know the soft-spoken man flying their flag high in the athletics world?

Birth

Eliud Kipchoge was born on November 5, 1984 in Kapsisiywa, Nandi County, as the last born in a family of five children. His mother worked as a teacher while his father died when he was still very young.

Early Life

Growing up, Kipchoge used to jog to and from school; this, perhaps, remains his earliest memory of how he got into athletics and carved his path to becoming one of the most celebrated marathoners in the world. After school he sold milk to support his family.

Marriage and Family

The 33-year-old star is married to Grace Sugutt, with whom they are blessed with three children.

Training

Kipchoge’s day starts at 5am in the training track at Global Sports Camp, Kaptagat, located 30km East of Eldoret. He is coached by Patrick Sang who has been his mentor since he was 16 years. When they first met, Kipchoge did not own a watch so Sang gave him his Timex. The athlete, on his bond with Sang, recently told New York Times: “If I hadn’t met him, my life would be different.”

Rise

The marathoner started gaining attention when, at the age of just 18 in 2003, he won the junior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, setting a world junior record over 5000 metres. He would then go on to win a bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympics and another bronze at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

Disappointment

In 2012, Kipchoge came at 7th place during the 5000 Kenya’s Olympic trials which led to him being left off the Olympic team. Speaking to N.Y Times, he termed that incident his “greatest disappointment.”

Winning formula

In one of Kipchoge’s more than 15 notebooks is a formula he wrote that would eventually push him to becoming the track star he is today:

“Motivation + Discipline = Consistency”

Further, he says he does not  like over-stretching himself during training. He prefers to keep it at 80 to 90 and then 100 percent only on race day.

Doping

Unlike a host of other fellow athletes who have tested positive for doping in the past, Kipchoge has always kept a clean record.  He believes success needs only hard work and no shortcuts.

“I always tell people that this is a really simple deal: Work hard. If you work hard, follow what’s required and set your priorities right, then you can really perform without taking shortcuts. If you’re taking shortcuts, you can’t be free.” Kipchoge said in the interview N.Y Times.

Streak

Eliud Kipchoge boasts of bagging 10 of the 11 marathons he has competed in.

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