Kenyan track and field athlete Eliud Kipchoge, 36, won the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympic marathon. He completed the 42.195 kilometre distance in 2 hours 8 minutes and 38 seconds. Netherlands’ Abdi Naguai (+1.20) was second, with Bachir Abdi of Belgium coming in third (+1.22).
Kipchoge won the marathon for the second time at the Olympics. He also became the third-ever double Olympic champion in the discipline, TASS notes. His previous two gold medals were won by Ethiopian Abebe Bikila in 1960 and 1964 as well as by Waldemar Zerpinski of the GDR in 1976 and 1980.
Biography of Eliud Kipchoge
Eliud Kipchoge was born in Kapsisyawa village, Nandi District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. He was the fourth child in his family. He was brought up by his mother, a teacher by profession. He graduated from Kapsisya Secondary School in Kapsisya, Kenya in 1999. He graduated from Kaptel High School in Kapsisyawa. Since childhood Eliud has been running. At 16 he met his future coach Patrick Sang, silver medallist of 1992 Olympic Games and two world championships, and since 2015 he started training together with him.
Remarkably, Sang is also a countryman of his younger colleague: he was born in the same village twenty years earlier than Kipchoge. Kipchoge is married with three children. He lives in Eldoret in western Kenya.
As he did two years ago, Kipchoge ran with 41 pacesetters, rotating in succession. The pacemakers were all the world’s strongest runners, including Swiss Julien Wanders, Australians Jack Rayner and Brett Robinson, and Norwegian runners the Ingebrigtsen brothers.
Drinks and gels were handed to Kipchoge by the attendants on bicycles. Therefore, the athlete did not lose time by stopping or slowing down at refreshment points, as is usually the case at marathons.
According to the IAAF, it is not permitted to be accompanied by a pacer and to receive refreshments of this kind during a race, which is why the Vienna race is not part of the IAAF programme and Kipchoge’s new record will also be unofficial, just like the Monza course record. However, this in no way detracts from the significance of the event, Kipchoge is sure.
“The run in Berlin [Berlin Marathon 2018] and the run in Vienna are things of a completely different order. In Berlin, you run and break a world record. In Vienna, you run and create history. It’s like the first man on the moon,” said Kipchoge before the race.
“Got off drugs, got hooked on running. Why do people run ultramarathons?
To run such a distance in the specified time, the athlete had to run at a speed of 1km in 2 minutes and 50 seconds. At the 2019 London Marathon, as Jim Ratcliffe pointed out, there were no pacemakers capable of maintaining Kipchoge’s pace.
Journalists asked the athlete if the historic event – covering the marathon distance in 1:59 – would help improve attitudes towards high performance sport in a world that has clearly suffered after a string of high-profile doping scandals.
“I’ll give you an example: in a garden there are flowers and there are weeds. When we talk about Vienna, we are talking about flowers. Let’s think about flowers and how they can bloom and make everyone in this world happier,” replied Kipchoge.