Kipchoge: the marathon gift that keeps giving


Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge in action at the 2012 World Half Marathon Championships (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge in action at the 2012 World Half Marathon Championships (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)

In Summary

  • As he continues to conquer every field, any doubt that stepping up from track to road running is Eliud Kipchoge's best ever career decision continues to diminish
  • While the Olympic champion claimed his switch was always a part of his progression, missing out on the 2012 London Olympics team in both 5000m and 10000m spurred him marathon running

As he continues to conquer every field, any doubt that stepping up from track to road running is Eliud Kipchoge’s best ever career decision continues to diminish.

While the Olympic champion claimed his switch was always a part of his progression, missing out on the 2012 London Olympics team in both 5000m and 10000m spurred him marathon running.

Inspired by his coach, the former World and Olympic steeplechase silver medallist Patrick Sang, Kipchoge first exploded on the international scene as an 18-year-old winning the U20 race at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships.

Later that year he caused shockwaves after upsetting running icons Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele to claim a stunning 5000m gold medal at the Paris World Championships.

Kipchoge opened his 2013 season with a win at the Barcelona Half Marathon in a time of one hour and four seconds.

Making his marathon debut in April, he demonstrated a perfect transition to the longer distance by taking the Hamburg Marathon title with a run of 2:05:30 beating the field by over two minutes and setting a new course record.

In August 2013 he won the Half Marathon of Klagenfurt in 61:02 minutes. Then, he raced in the Berlin Marathon, hoping to improve his 2:05:30 personal best from the Hamburg Marathon, and he finished second in 2:04:05, the fifth-fastest time in history, behind Wilson Kipsang, who set a new marathon world record.

In 2014 he triumphed in Rotterdam and Chicago before the following year adding wins in London and Berlin to his growing collection of marathon victories.

This made him the fifth-fastest marathon runner in history, in only his second ever marathon. In April 2016, Kipchoge won the London Marathon for the second consecutive year in a time of 2:03:05.

His performance broke the course record in London, and became the second-fastest marathon time in history on an approved course, missing Dennis Kimetto’s  world record by 8 seconds but he proved he is more than capable of bettering  the 2:02:57 world record given the conditions are cooperative.

Later that year, on 21 August 2016 at the Rio Olympics Eliud Kipchoge won the gold medal in the men’s marathon in a time of 2:08:44.

On 20 November 2016 Kipchoge ran in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, he won the race clocking a time of 59:44.

On 6 May 2017, as part of the Nike Breaking2 project, Kipchoge along with Zersenay Tadese and Lelisa Desisa ran a marathon distance finishing in 2:00:25 at the Monza, Italy while the other two had to slow and finished far behind.

On 24 September 2017 he won the Berlin Marathon in a time of 2:03:32 hours. In rainy conditions, he finished 14 seconds ahead of Guye Adola who ran his first marathon. Adola set the fastest marathon debut ever. Former marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang and 2016 winner Kenenisa Bekele failed to finish.

The only athletic accomplishment that reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge has left to garner is an official world record in the marathon.

Facing compatriots Wilson Kipsang, world record holder Dennis Kimetto and New York winner, Stanley Biwott who rounded the top four at the 2015 London Marathon as well as his arch-rival, Kenenisa, Kipchoge was well against it in his title defense.

‘Beautiful race’

Eliud Kipchoge takes part in a training session at the Kaptagat in western Kenya, on March 17, 2017 (AFP Photo/SIMON MAINA)

However, he put together one of the most enduring front running performances ever witnessed at the marathon.

“I was going for London’s fastest time and at first, I was not aware with 2K to go I was within the world record. When I looked at my watch, I saw I was in and tried my best to go for it but unfortunately, I did not make it in the end.

“I was aiming for 2:03 but in the last 400m I saw it was possible and I pushed it a bit,” he outlined after completing the race in 2016.

“I was not disappointed that I did not make the world record. I’m self-disciplined. If I start regretting then that would be a sign of indiscipline,” Kipchoge added.

On Sunday, completed his London Marathon treble when he won in 2:04:17 to celebrate his 9th victory in 10 marathons.

“I was a little bit worried, but I said it would be a beautiful race and it was,” a smiling Kipchoge said.

“This is wonderful to win London marathon for the third time. London is the highest organized race in the world and I am happy to be the winner for the third time,” he added.

Kipchoge joined compatriot Martin Lel and Mexican Dionicio Ceron as the only men to win the London title three times, an achievement he said this week would be the greatest of his stellar career and make him “the happiest man on Earth”.

“It was slower at the end but all in all that’s what happens in sport. I enjoyed the whole race. You have to win, and I had to fight over the last kilometers, thank you London,” he said.

 

Athletics Kenya (AK) Nairobi chairman Barnabas Korir was also happy about the performance of Eliud Kipchoge. “I am so happy about Eliud’s win in London. He is a disciplined athlete. It has been his desire to break the world record in London. Although he did not beat his previous course, he really tried. That was the best time to run in London despite the hot temperatures,” Korir said.

Kipchoge is already the fastest marathon runner ever after running two hours and 25 seconds at the Nike Breaking2 – well inside the official world record of 2:02:57 set by Dennis Kimetto in 2014.

At his training camp in Kaptagat, they call him “Chemoget” meaning the boss man.

PERSONAL BESTS

5000m     12:46.53

10,000m 26:49.02

Half Marathon 59:25

Marathon   2:03:05

Breaking2 2:00:25

KIPCHOGE’S MARATHON RECORD

2:04:17                  1              London Marathon 2018

2:04:00                  1              Berlin    27 Sep   2017

2:03:05                  1              London 24 Apr   2016

2:8:44                    1              Rio Olympics      2016

2:04:42                  1              London 26 Apr   2015

2:05:00                  1              Rotterdam 13 Apr   2014

2:04:11                  1              Chicago IL 12 Oct   2014

2:05:30                  1              Hamburg 21 Apr   2013

2:04:05                  2              Berlin    29 Sep   2013

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