Life lessons in marathon keep Kipchoge going the distance

PETALING JAYA: Running in the marathon has earned him fame and riches but it has also taught Kenyan superstar Eliud Kipchoge (pic) about perservering in the face of challenges.

Kipchoge, who currently holds the marathon world record and is the reigning Olympics champion, said this is the greatest reward he has gained from his involvement in running marathons.

“Running marathons has taught me that if you believe and have faith in yourself, you can be successful.

“It has informed me that if you set a goal and believe in that goal, you can go on without any problems. It’s like life. It has built me and told me this is the wrong route and right route.

“Above all, it taught me that life has its ups and downs, ” said the 36-year-old at a virtual press conference hosted by professional outfit the NN Running Team ahead of the NN Mission Marathon in Holland.

Kipchoge will headline the elite field for today’s closed door race, which is a Tokyo Olympics qualifier, at a specially designed course in Enschede.

It was originally scheduled to take place on April 11 in Hamburg, Germany, but was postponed because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Among those competing today against Kipchoge will be 2012 Olympics marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.

It will be Kipchoge’s first outing since his surprise loss at the London marathon in October when he was eighth, more than five minutes slower than his world record of 2’01:39.

“My goal is the same – to run a good race and a beautiful race. All of us will enjoy, we will test ourselves, the shape we will have on Sunday, but above all is the beauty of the race.

“The race will be crucial in the preparations for the Olympics marathon on Aug 8 in Sapporo.

“But I trust that this is the best time to test your shape and this is the best race to test myself with 70 other athletes trying their best to qualify. This is an important race.

“Covid-19 actually destroyed everything. It destabilised training and our lives, and now we have to train in small groups and compete without fans.”

He and three other NN Running Team members have also been training in Kenya for the past month.

In November 2019 in Vienna, Kipchoge achieved a sports milestone when he ran a full marathon distance in a once-inconceivable time of 1’59.40.

For the comparison, his performance was equivalent to running 100m sprints in just over 17 seconds – 422 times in a row!

However, the event was not officially recognised as a world record because it was run in a specially tailored course and it featured a dense rotation of professional pacesetters.

Considered one of the sport’s greatest marathoners, the 36-year-old Kipchoge suffered his first defeat since 2013 in London.

Kipchoge had won 10 straight races up until the London marathon defeat.

Kipchoge explained that he had suffered from a blocked ear that affected his breathing, and cramp in his hip at that time.

He also revealed that he has not changed any part of his training regime after the London race but the experience taught him how to run without fans, who have been forced to stay home from sports competitions due to the pandemic.

“I still continue with my training, I have the same coach, same management, same thinking and that’s why I am here again.

“We started to run without fans in London and this is the second leg of running without fans and that’s one way to learn and actually absorb and accept that we should move on because life cannot stop anymore.”

Overseas fans have already been barred from attending the Tokyo Games while the organisers plan to decide later on the maximum number of local fans permitted at venues.

He and three other NN Running Team members have been training in Kenya for the past month wearing Abbott's Libre Sense glucose sport biosensor on their arms to monitor their glucose levels to help them achieve optimal athletic performance.

"It’s a wonderful technology whereby Abbott has invested in it. It shows you what’s happening in your body before you run, inside the run, and even after the run.

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