Monday, 24 August 2015

Eliud Kipchoge's interview with the Kenyan Athlete

Prior to this year's London marathon, the pre-race topic was almost entirely about the expected clash between Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto there. There were only a few people expecting Eliud Kipchoge to triumph out of the great lineup of stars in the race, but he eventually emerged the winner. 

Here is what he had to say about his victory when I caught up with him a few weeks ago at the newly refurbished Kipchoge Stadium in Eldoret during the last leg of the Safaricom Athletics Kenya's (AK) track and field meeting that was taking place.

"I felt happy. I was more than happy to win one of the biggest marathons in the whole world; you know, London Marathon is actually considered by many as the major of the marathon majors, so I was happy to be the winner in London," Kipchoge said. He added, "It was my best moment so far in my career on marathon running, but in the twelve years of my life in athletics, I still remember where I started from and I think that my best moment ever was when I won the gold medal in the 5000m event at the 2003 world championships in Paris."

Going into the London Marathon, Kipchoge was already optimistic of winning it. "I always look forward to running successful races. And given that success was my goal in London, developing a winning attitude was not an option for me, but an absolute necessity," he said.

Regarding Dennis Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57, he thinks that it is a tough time and a tough record to break, but nevertheless believes it is only a matter of time before it is broken. "Some time back, before any man could run under four minutes for the mile, people, including scientists of that time, used to believe that it was an impossible thing to do. However, a few weeks after the first man broke that barrier, other runners were also able to run under four minutes," explained Kipchoge.

Having run many years on the track without breaking any world record or winning an Olympic gold medal, Kipchoge's ambition now as a marathon runner is to hopefully win the Olympic gold or to break the world record in marathon one day. "In future, I want to have one of these titles; to be either a world record holder, or an Olympic champion," said Kipchoge.

At the moment, Kipchoge is still "taking it easy" after the London Marathon and is yet to report to his training camp. That is the reason why he is yet to issue a statement on whether he will be running at the Beijing world championships or not. In a few days, he will be able to make a final decision on that. While he hopes to run in some half marathons once in a while to sharpen his speed for the full marathon, his focus is neither in the world half marathon championships nor in the world record in the distance.

He attributes his success in marathon running to being in a group of "nice, high profile and strong guys" that include Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffrey Kamworor, among others.

Besides the group, Kipchoge believes that speed work, long runs, nutrition and rest are all very important in equal proportions if one plans to run a marathon. In fact, if he was to rate each of them out of ten, he would give ten points each. He believes that if one part of training is neglected, then one can never do well in a marathon.
Lastly, to benefit marathon runners who are wondering what the farthest distance the best marathon runners have to run in their training, I asked Kipchoge what he did in his preparation to run the London Marathon and he said that the longest long run he ever did was forty two kilometers. It is not a rule, or a strict program for him, but that is just what he did before heading out to win the London Marathon.

Of all the five marathons that Eliud Kipchoge has run, he has won four of them and finished second in one; the Berlin Marathon behind Wilson Kipsang. Another way to put it is that, he has only finished once behind another runner, Wilson Kipsang, in his whole career in marathon running! It will be interesting to see how Kipchoge continues to build his amazing profile in marathon.