Four presidents later, Kipchoge not limited, seeks Berlin encore
What you need to know:
- When he finished fifth in the junior race at the 2002 IAAF World Cross Country Championships at the Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin, Ireland, the late Daniel arap Moi was president.
- Kipchoge’s pro career has run astride Mwai Kibaki’s and Uhuru Kenyatta’s combined 20-year rule.
Eliud Kipchoge’s international running career has transcended four Kenyan presidents.
When he finished fifth in the junior race at the 2002 IAAF World Cross Country Championships at the Leopardstown Racecourse in Dublin, Ireland, the late Daniel arap Moi was president.
Kipchoge’s pro career has run astride Mwai Kibaki’s and Uhuru Kenyatta’s combined 20-year rule, the distance running G.O.A.T. having launched his marathon career during the late President Kibaki’s regime and shattering the world marathon record in President Kenyatta’s final term.
In fact, when Kipchoge made his international debut in Dublin, his teammate in the Global Sports Communication stable, women’s metric mile superstar Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon, was an eight-year-old child!
Kipchoge’s longevity, focus and determination are legendary.
Only Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia’s distance running legend, has stretched his world-class athletics career so long, having won the junior global cross country title in 2001, shattering the world junior 3,000 metres title in August the same year (7:30.69), and most recently finishing third in the Great North Run just a week ago behind Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo and Selemon Barega of Ethiopia.
NN Running Club
Bekele’s junior record was subsequently broken three-and-a-half years later by Kenya’s Augustine Choge (7:28.78).
Interestingly, Choge, 37, is also still active and, like Kipchoge, Chepng’etich and Bekele, also a member of the Jos Hermens-led, Nijmegen (Netherlands) based Global Sports Communication and NN Running Club.
Last year, Choge, who, like Kipchoge, started off as a track specialist, finished 17th overall in the New York City Marathon in a personal best 2:20:53.
Ethiopia’s Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam, Kenya’s Abel Cheruiyot, Uganda’s Boniface Kiprop and Kenya’s Thomas Kiplitan, who finished ahead of Kipchoge in Dublin 2002, are now long retired from elite athletics.
And now with William Ruto as Kenya’s fifth president, Kipchoge, 37, is still going strong and headed for another assault on the world marathon record when he lines up for Sunday’s Berlin Marathon, seeking to improve on the current record of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds which he set on the same, fast, pancake-flat Berlin course four years ago in 2018.
Sunday’s race will be a repeat of the rain-affected 2017 edition when Kipchoge (2:03:32), then targeting the world record, was pushed all the way by Ethiopian rookie Guye Adola who clocked the fastest ever time by a debutant (2:03:46).
Adola, winner last year in Berlin, will once again be Kipchoge’s main challenger in a race the Kenyan legend will be running in the improved version Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2.
“These rocket ships are made to help shave precious time off your personal records without surrendering the foundation you need to go the full distance.
“Enjoy the greatest energy return of all our racing shoes while you chase your personal bests,” reads Nike’s review of the latest shoe that retails at about $317 (approximately Sh38,000 in current exchange rates).
Indeed, as Kipchoge’s mantra goes, “no human is limited.” We hope he will slice some digits off the 2:01:39 on Sunday.
How I wish the increasing number of drug cheats in Kenyan athletics could follow the path “The Boss Man” Kipchoge has charted, and also train hard, win easy, rather than opt for performance-enhancing short-cuts.
As Kipchoge often says, “Only the disciplined ones in life are free” and “anyone can do whatever they want. All they need is to believe!”
All the best Eliud! We believe and we’ll be rooting for you on Sunday!
Makori is the Managing Editor (Sports) at Nation Media Group. [email protected]
2002 World Cross Country Championships – U20 race, 5th;
2003 World Cross Country Championships – U20 race, 1st;
2003 World Championships – 5,000m, 1st;
2004 World Cross Country Championships – senior race, 4th;
2004 Athens Olympic Games – 5,000m, 3rd;
2005 World Cross Country Championships – senior race, 5th;
2005 World Championships – 5,000m, 4th;
2006 World Indoor Championships – 3000m, 3rd;
2007 World Championships – 5,000m, 2nd;
2008 Beijing Olympic Games – 5,000m, 2nd;
2009 World Championships – 5,000m, 5th;
2011 World Championships – 5,000m, 7th;
2012 World Half Marathon Championships – 6th;
2016 Rio Olympic Games – marathon, 1st;
2021 Tokyo Olympic Games – marathon, 1st;
1st, 2:05:30 – Hamburg, April 2013;
2nd, 2:04:05 – Berlin, September 2013;
1st, 2:05:00 – Rotterdam, April 2014;
1st, 2:04:11 – Chicago, October 2014;
1st, 2:04:42 – London, April 2015;
1st, 2:04:00 – Berlin, September 2015;
1st, 2:03:05 – London, April 2016;
1st, 2:08:44 – Rio (Olympics), August 2016;
1st, 2:03:32 – Berlin, September 2017;
1st, 2:04:17 – London, April 2018;
1st, 2:01:39 – Berlin, September 2018;
1st, 2:02:37 – London, April 2019;
8th, 2:06:49 – London, October 2020;
1st, 2:04:40 – Enschede, April 2021;
1st, 2:08:38 – Tokyo (Olympics), August 2022;
1st, 2:01:39 – Tokyo, March 2022