Eliud Kipchoge: The Greatest of All Time
Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Eliud Kipchoge (37 years old) breaks the previous Tokyo Marathon course record by over 1 minute. The Kenyan marathoner crosses the finish line in a time of 2:02:40.
In terms of distance running, there are a handful of well-known names who come to mind for having incredibly fast times. From Mo Farah, specializing in the 5,000 meter event to Haile Gebrselassie, performing best in the 10,000 meter race, there is no one with more dominance and poise than Eliud Kipchoge. His remarkable work ethic combined with unmatched talent makes him quite arguably the greatest runner this world has ever seen.
Throughout his career, Eliud Kipchoge has run in 16 marathons, winning first place in all but two of them. Kipchoge has not only claimed gold in the past two Olympic games, but he has also earned himself a world record in the Men’s Marathon. The consistency in performance at such a high level is absolutely unheard of, and even more unbelievable is that he has kept this up for nearly 20 years!
Kipchoge began his racing career with shorter distances such as the 5k and 10k. In 2012 however, the great Kenyan runner failed to make the Olympic team in the 5,000 meter qualifying race. Quickly, he pivoted towards a completely different style of racing, entering the field of long distance running. As the major marathon wins began piling up, his success only grew larger.
As a Nike athlete, Kipchoge took on the challenge to break the 2-hour marathon barrier in 2017. To put things into perspective, this would be running at a speed of 13.1 miles per hour. Furthermore, this equates to roughly 4:34.6 minutes per mile of running, a blistering pace to hold for just a few hundred meters in the case of an average person. Through careful planning and preparation, the Nike NN Running team took on this challenge together. “Marathon is no longer an individual event,” Kipchoge explained, “It’s a team event.”
Although the team faced failures along the way, their determination and persistence eventually led Kipchoge to a 1:59:40 finishing time. Although it does not count in the record books due to the controlled environment, this achievement is one of Kipchoge’s remarkable accomplishments.
Defending his Olympic title in August of 2021, it was unsure where Eliud Kipchoge’s future in the sport was headed. However, to fans’ excitement, he announced later that year that he would be competing in the Tokyo Marathon in 2022. Although Kipchoge may not be as young as he was just a few years ago during his World Record race, he has stayed at such an elite and untouchable level of fitness that it is hard to fathom just how good he is. In Tokyo, he put on yet another impressive performance, running a superb time of 2:02:40.
After winning the Tokyo Marathon, he tweeted, “Finally, I want to say I want this world to unite. My win today is to bring positivity in this world.” Although Kipchoge could have easily made a remark on his stellar performance, he chose to use his platform for a much more significant and world-wide cause. Kipchoge serves as a great role model for young athletes around the world.
A Wrong Turn
At the halfway point of the 2022 Tokyo Marathon, the lead pack made a wrong turn when they accidentally followed a TV truck instead of the pace-car. Although this had a minor impact on the race as a whole, it definitely took a toll on the mental stages of these elite athletes. If this mistake was prevented, Kipchoge and the other athletes in the pack of runners would have been roughly 10 seconds faster, a quite significant difference when it comes to such a high level of competition. Regardless, Kipchoge ran the 4th fastest Marathon time in history, only falling short of himself and Kenenisa Bekele.
At this point in his career, Eliud has won 4 out of the 6 major marathons in the world. The only two which he hasn't raced yet are the New York City marathon and the Boston Marathon. Even though he has yet to announce his plans, it wouldn’t be outlandish to assume that he will race in these marathons in the future, in an attempt to have accomplished all 6 major marathons.
Whatever Kipchoge choses to do with his future, the end of his career seems to be on the distant horizon. As much as everyone would like to watch him race for another decade, it seems as though he has his sights set on the 2024 marathon as a retirement time frame. For now, let’s soak in his absolute and utter dominance while continuing to be inspired by his magnificent achievements.