Kipchoge deserves more state recognition and his statue erected in the capital city

Eliud Kipchoge

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge celebrates after winning the Berlin Marathon race on September 25, 2022, in Berlin.

Photo credit: Tobias Schwarz | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Kipchoge is, by every metric, the best marathoner in the world and he is clearly improving.

On top of renaming the Nairobi Expressway after marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge, as Nation Managing Editor-Sports Elias Makori suggested on Tuesday, I propose that we also erect a bigger-than-life size statue of him in the middle of Nairobi.

And we should not stop there. At every local stadium where he has ever trained or competed, his name should be written in bold somewhere next to the entrance, where everyone getting in or out will see and be reminded of the force Kipchoge continues to be in his long and successful athletics career.

His quotable quotes should not only appear in seasonal billboards by corporates looking to get associated with his greatness, they should also be on display in public places, especially government offices. Statements like “No human is limited”,  or “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they are crazy enough”, which are attributed to Kipchoge, should be made to remain in the depths of our memories forever.

A replica of the Nike Vaporfly shoes that he wore on Sunday in Berlin on his way to breaking his own marathon record should be framed in a lovely glass cabinet in the national museum, so that future generations can have a glimpse of what a great human he was.

We should do this because he has undoubtedly achieved athletics immortality, but more importantly, we should do it so that we get constantly reminded that discipline and hard work, whether in sports or in general life, truly does pay.

This is especially important in a country like ours where there is increasing scepticism about the relevance of hard work and its correlation to success.

Elevating Kipchoge’s status in this manner shouldn’t be a problem, really, seeing as we have no problem naming major streets after retired public servants with questionable characters.

I have searched and searched in the list of those who share the EGH title with Kipchoge, and I am yet to find one whose successes come close to what he has done both for himself and for the country. This is our opportunity to collectively reward someone who truly deserves it.

Even Cristiano Ronaldo, who is my favourite footballer of all time, still has to contend with pugnacious discourses on whether he is the best-ever football player.

In fact, some don’t even consider him to be the best of his generation thanks to a pint-size wizard called Lionel Messi. But Kipchoge? The world agrees that he is peerless. Kipchoge is, by every metric, the best marathoner in the world and he is clearly improving.

We shall have a moment to talk about his dislike (or is it distrust) for local media, but for now, let’s focus on the astonishing statistics that make him the oldest runner to break the marathon world record since Carlos Lopes in 1985.

Only six runners in the world have run within two minutes of Kipchoge’s new record. At 2.01.09, the world record mark is only 69 seconds north of a clean two hours. Getting to sub-two has never seemed more achievable than it does in this dazzling Kipchoge era.

Kenyan authorities don’t have a culture of rewarding greatness, unless it comes dressed in the garb of politics. Perhaps it is time we changed that?

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