The greatest marathoner ever: What you need to know about Eliud Kipchoge

The greatest marathoner ever: What you need to know about Eliud Kipchoge

Kenya’s Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge is quite easily the most popular man in Kenya and possibly Berlin, Germany at the moment. Kipchoge, the widely considered distance running version of Usain Bolt, amazed many on Sunday when he clocked 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon to break the men’s world record previously held by Dennis Kimetto. Pundits have described Kipchoge as many things but, perhaps, the one that stands out most is New York Times’ piece on the marathoner titled: “Eliud Kipchoge is the Greatest Marathoner, Ever.” But just how well do Kenyans know the soft-spoken man flying their flag high in the athletics world? Birth Eliud Kipchoge was born on November 5, 1984 in Kapsisiywa, Nandi County, as the last born in a family of five children. His mother worked as a teacher while his father died when he was still very young. Early Life Growing up, Kipchoge used to jog to and from school; this, perhaps, remains his earliest memory of how he got into athletics and carved his path to becoming one of the most celebrated marathoners in the world. After school he sold milk to support his family. Marriage and Family The 33-year-old star is married to Grace Sugutt, with whom they are blessed with three children. Training Kipchoge’s day starts at 5am in the training track at Global Sports Camp, Kaptagat, located 30km East of Eldoret. He is coached by Patrick Sang who has been his mentor since he was 16 years. When they first met, Kipchoge did not own a watch so Sang gave him his Timex. The athlete, on his bond with Sang, recently told New York Times: “If I hadn’t met him, my life would be different.” Rise The marathoner started gaining attention when, at the age of just 18 in 2003, he won the junior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, setting a world junior record over 5000 metres. He would then go on to win a bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympics and another bronze at the 2006 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Disappointment In 2012, Kipchoge came at 7th place during the 5000 Kenya’s Olympic trials which led to him being left off the Olympic team. Speaking to N.Y Times, he termed that incident his “greatest disappointment.” Winning formula In one of Kipchoge’s more than 15 notebooks is a formula he wrote that would eventually push him to becoming the track star he is today: “Motivation + Discipline = Consistency” Further, he says he does not  like over-stretching himself during training. He prefers to keep it at 80 to 90 and then 100 percent only on race day. Doping Unlike a host of other fellow athletes who have tested positive for doping in the past, Kipchoge has always kept a clean record.  He believes success needs only hard work and no shortcuts. “I always tell people that this is a really simple deal: Work hard. If you work hard, follow what’s required and set your priorities right, then you can really perform without taking shortcuts. If you’re taking shortcuts, you can’t be free.” Kipchoge said in the interview N.Y Times. Streak Eliud Kipchoge boasts of bagging 10 of the 11 marathons he has competed in.

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