Eliud Kipchoge: I want to inspire a generation in Enschede

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (red jacket) jogs with other athletes at the Twente Airport in Enschede, the Netherlands ahead of the NN Mission Marathon.

What you need to know:

  • Kipchoge will be seeking to be the third man to defend his Olympic marathon title in August.

Distance running great Eliud Kipchoge says he wants to "run a beautiful race that will inspire many" when the NN Mission Marathon goes down on Sunday in Enschede, the Netherlands.

The organisers of the Enschede Marathon have organised a specially designed eight-lap course at Twente Airport, which will be closed to the general public to ensure adhere to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Speaking during a virtual press conference organised by NN Running Team, Kipchoge said he wants to inspire hope across the world.

“We are at a time where the world is suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic but I want to run a good race that will inspire many and show them that there is hope despite what they are going through at his time,” said Kipchoge.

“I know there are thousands of athletes who depend on sports to put food on the table and the virus has halted their career. I want to ask them to always be positive and wait for the situation to come to normalcy because that’s their career,” added Kipchoge.

Kipchoge said that it is his second race running without fans which is now becoming common because of the coronavirus situation across the world.

“We didn’t know that one day we shall be competing at the airport but the situation has forced us to run without fans and this will be normal until when the situation returns to normalcy."

The race was postponed by a week from April 11 to April 18 in what the NN Running Team, Hamburg Marathon and Global Sports Communication said that it was due to the surge of coronavirus infections.

The race, which has attracted from 20 countries, will see some of the runners attempt to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The men's marathon qualification time is 2:11:30 while women’s mark is 2:29:30.

“I have not raced on the course before but it is generally good and I know many athletes who have not attained the Olympics Games qualification mark will actually attain it on Sunday. I want to wish everyone success as we compete on Sunday,” he said.

On the partnership between Abbott and NN Running which will see the athletes track their glucose levels during training and races, Kipchoge said that it is the way to go.

“The technology is called biosensor measuring glucose and monitoring what’s going on in your body including when you are hungry. Abbott has done well in the technology and this will help many before and after competition,” he added.

Uganda's 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, who has a personal best time of 2:06:33, Jonathan Korir, Laban Korir (2:05:54) and Augustine Choge, Uganda’s Filex Chemonges (2:05:12) are among the top athletes in the race.

Kipchoge will be seeking to be the third man to defend his Olympic marathon gold in August. Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila (1960 Rome, 1964 Tokyo) and Germany's Waldemar Cierpinski (1976 Montreal, 1980 Moscow) are the other athletes who have defended the Olympics marathon crown.

In the women’s race, 2016 European half-marathon champion Sara Moreira of Portugal (2:24:49) and Kenya’s NN Running Team athlete Gladys Chesir (2:24:51) will be out for glory.