President Kenyatta's gift: Kipchoge library project work starts

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge with his mother Janet Rotich (left), wife Grace Sugut (right) and children Lynn, Jordon and Griffin during the groundbreaking ceremony for the President Uhuru Kenyatta-funded Eliud Kipchoge Library at Kapsisiywa Secondary School in Nandi County on September 16, 2020.

Photo credit: Wycliffe Kipsang | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • World marathon record holder takes time off training schedule to launch construction of library
  • Education CS Magoha says children should follow marathon legend’s footsteps
  • The project has been funded by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

With the London Marathon just over two weeks away, defending champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge maintained his tight programme on Wednesday, making time for the ground-breaking ceremony for a library project that he inspired.

He was joined at the ceremony at Kapsisiywa Secondary School in his home Nandi County by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha (seated, right) loads soil onto a tipper during the groundbreaking ceremony for the President Uhuru Kenyatta-funded Eliud Kipchoge Library at Kapsisiywa Secondary School in Nandi County on September 16, 2020.

Photo credit: Wycliffe Kipsang | Nation Media Group

The project has been funded by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The marathon great narrated that at a meeting in Mombasa last year President Kenyatta asked him what gift he wanted after his exploits on the world stage, and he settled for a communal library.

“I'm here to witness one of my dreams come true. My vision to transform my community has come true courtesy of the President.

“I appreciate the President's gesture which confirms to me that, indeed, no human is limited," said an elated Kipchoge who was accompanied by his family.

Kipchoge said it came as a big surprise to him when the President made the offer.

“The answer is what we have here today,” Kipchoge said, noting that a library is crucial and that reading had expanded his thinking and outlook in life.

“Books have been my loyal friend. Books are the perfect mode to travel out of any locality through. Books have helped me navigate through many challenges in life. I'm happy the President will be with us in every step of the way in this project,” added Kipchoge, with his usual touch of philosophy.

Trained well

He assured his fans that he’s on track in preparations for the October 4 London Marathon that has been touted as a battle between him and his Ethiopian rival Kenenisa Bekele.

“I've trained well for the race and I'm ready to give my best shot in London. We are hopeful of making Kenyans proud," said Kipchoge.

Magoha lauded Kipchoge for choosing a community project which he said would benefit the whole community as opposed to oneself.

“It is people like Kipchoge that our children should emulate," said Magoha, who asked the contractors carrying out the Sh100 million project to ensure they did an impeccable job.

“This should not be a poisoned chalice. We will monitor it closely to ensure that it meets all the required standards,” said Magoha, who was accompanied his Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang.

Nandi leaders among them MPs Wilson Kogo (Chesumei), Vincent Tuwei (Mosop) and Nandi Deputy Governor Yulita Mitei lauded the President's gesture which they noted would go a long way in uplifting education standards in the region.

“We appreciate the President for seeing it fit to honour Kipchoge this way. We are proud of our President. What he has done will remain a landmark in this region," said Kogo.

Issued a directive

President Kenyatta last year issued a directive for the construction of a multi-million library at Kipchoge’s home village of Kapsisiywa.

“Eliud Kipchoge who is alive and here with us has also inspired the world that no human effort is futile, that we can dream and make our dreams a possibility. He has demonstrated that through integrity, hard work and commitment to excellence nothing is out of reach,” said the President when he honoured the athlete last year after his successful exploits in Austria when he broke the two-hour barrier for the marathon.

President Kenyatta decorated Kipchoge with the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart (E.G.H) award, lauding his work in inspiring future generations to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Magoha, accompanied by Ministry officials, on November 22 last year delivered the offer letter from the President to the famous athlete as well as the Kapsisiywa Secondary School principal.

Kipchoge made history last year after becoming the first man to run a marathon in under two hours – clocking one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds at the “Ineos 1:59 Challenge” staged in Vienna, Austria.

[email protected]; [email protected]