Kenya’s Eliud Chipkoge recently won the 2019 London Marathon, in the process establishing a new personal best time for the race and breaking his own previous record set in 2016 by a remarkable 28 seconds. This brings his wins tally for this unique race to four, after completing his triumphant run in just 02:02:38.
The 34 year-old runner’s winning time became the second fastest ever recorded for the marathon. It also remains 59 seconds outside of his own personal best of 2:01:39. A time he set in September 2018, Berlin, Germany which captured him the title as the world’s fastest marathon runner and makes him the current holder of the World Record for the Marathon.
In today’s world of highly competitive professional sports where unusually gifted, highly focused athletes remain under the constant care of a team of equally gifted sports scientists and trainers, one can easily become slightly blasé about the significance attached to the breaking of yet another world record, which perhaps may raise the bar by some miniscule margin.
However, even when surrounded by the exclusivity of athletes dwelling in this rarified atmosphere Eliud Kipchoge’s achievements stand head and shoulders above that of his athletic peers. The singular reason for this is not only found in his insatiable capacity for winning races that sees his win tally rolling on in a seemingly unstoppable fashion, having won 11 of the last 12 major international races he entered. He last missed out on racking up a race win in the 2013 Berlin Marathon in Germany.
The principal reason sports fundis consider Eliud unique, is the absolutely astounding margin by which he raised and keeps on raising the bar. In the 2018 Berlin Marathon last year, he totally pulverised the previous record by a full minute and eighteen seconds, it became the single largest improvement in marathon running in over 50 years. This instantly elevated the humble, but determined and dedicated, athlete to enjoy sports-star levels of fame and stardom.
Monday morning, the day after his amazing accomplishment global media headlines proclaimed him “Fastest man in the world” and “long-distance Usain Bolt”. Despite previously already having established his credentials as a top world-class athlete, people now instantly recognised his face and his name. Regular punters ensured he quickly became the center of attention when they started backing him heavily in droves at online leading sportsbooks such as Unibet, a leader in the world of sports betting.
After the start of the 2019 London race, Kipchoge’s intentions soon confirmed earlier rumours, guestimates, and projections about his potential race performance when he finished the first kilometre having set a record pace. Then clocking a 10km time identical to that set during his Berlin world record race and storming through the halfway mark at 01:01:37.
Even more remarkable, and in great contrast to the wealth and flamboyance of the lifestyles lived by latter-day professional athletes, is the uncomplicated humbleness of his self chosen training regime set in a simplistic rural lifestyle.
Equally impressive when speaking freely, is the man’s steely determination that quickly shines through, while the man’s utter honesty and humbleness remains. He seemingly lives by just two main mottos, one he wears on a bracelet always visible on his wrist, it reads; “No human is limited” and the other “If you want to be great, never lie to yourself”.
He also does not just say he believes the impossible is possible. Since he believes the marathon can be run in under two hours, he’s come oh so close to proving it. Last year while part of a Nike initiative aimed at achieving just that, he managed to run an accurately timed, but unofficial marathon of 2:00:25, which left him just 25 seconds short of the impossible sub-two-hour marathon.