At the feet of Eliud Kipchoge (Kpsisiwa, Kenya, 1984) there is a stopwatch directly connected to his heart and lungs that sets a pace that is nearly impossible for the rest of the world to follow. Over the past decades, the Kenyan has dominated the marathon with overwhelming superiority in the marathon, becoming a double Olympic champion, a world record holder (2:01.09) and also the first man to have managed to dip below two hours. Speciality A mark which, however, is not official as he received individual assistance, such as a group of runners who ran in ‘V’ in front of him. For all these achievements, Kipchoge was awarded the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports this Thursday.
As is the case with most long-distance athletes, Kipchoge did not start out in this specialty, but built a career on the track. After declaring herself the 5,000 m world champion in 2003, she achieved Olympic podiums in the same event at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Focus your efforts on featuring and becoming the greatest. And he did.
Since then he has won 17 of the 20 marathons he has participated in, setting historical records in many of them. In 2016 he won the London Marathon by the largest margin over a classified second in 44 years, before securing the long-awaited Olympic gold in Rio de Janeiro the same year. Five years later, in Tokyo, he repeated his victory at the Games with outrageous ease. Leading most of the race, the change in pace was enough for him in the final section of the test to enter the Olympic Stadium alone.
Beyond official records, Kipchoge is also the hero of a historical achievement. In October 2019, in an unusual race aimed at Kenyans facing the two-hour hurdle in the marathon, he achieved what no one else had. “I’ve been to the moon, and I’ve come back. The last 200 metres, the last 30 seconds, have been the best moments of my life. I was making history. I’m a happy man,” he said after completing a test. Said that recorded him forever in the sports history books.
The test was unusual as top level athletes ran in front of him in ‘V’ formation to set a frantic pace and shield him from the wind. A well-known sports brand also wore special shoes on his feet, which improved his performance. But only he, Kipchoge, was able to maintain a pace of two minutes and 50 seconds per kilometer during the 42 and 195 meter trials, which attracted worldwide attention. If in one section his time was two minutes and 52 seconds to encounter, for example, a roundabout, in the next the road was straight, his march peaked at 2.48. Without acceleration, without brakes, he became a legend.
Growing up in his hometown, Kipchoge graduated from Kaptale High School in Nandi County in 1999. He is the youngest of four children and was raised by his mother, a teacher. Actually, he knows his father only from photographs. Patrick Song, a former Olympic medallist, was the one who began to train her, marking the beginning of a great career that saw her honored with the Sports Prize for the Princess of Asturias Foundation this Thursday.