PRETORIA, October 17-Eliud Kipchoge feels vindicated after sticking to the old school progression of transition from track running to the roads after his polished 2:04:11 victory at Chicago Marathon last Sunday ushered him to the high table of the ultimate distance.
The only regret the 29-year-old veteran has for his resounding performance where he got one over the old enemy, Ethiopian distance running behemoth, Kenenisa Bekele, is the fact the 2:03:45 course record set last year by compatriot Dennis Kimetto proved to a barrier beyond his reach.
“My plan was to run the course record but the high winds during the race made that impossible so the focus turned to winning the race. I’m happy with the outcome since I won one of the big marathons.
“What is left is to plan for other victories in major marathons,” Kipchoge, still glowing from the commanding victory where he led countrymen Sammy Kitwara and Dickson Chumba to the podium sweep said onThursday as Kenenisa who fell off the pace at the 25K was forced down to fourth.
Kipchoge, who ran the last kilometres with a wide smile despite the gruelling nature of the distance, had an outburst of unbridled joy after crossing the finishing line and ended up high-fiving everyone.
He explained the unusual repertoire.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,” he burst out in hearty laughter; “In sport you need to enjoy, if you are comfortable in the race then why not have fun? The reception from Chicago was so good and I’m proud to have been their champion since they cheered me on to the end.”
“I had to go back and show my appreciation to them, it was wonderful.”
-Blast from the past-
“I’m happy to be among the three man club of (Paul) Tergat, Haile (Gebrsellasie) and myself who are the only men to have run under 12:50 in 5000m, 27:00 in 10,000m and 2:05 in the marathon.
“The old school is still the best and although it is not something the present ‘Y-generation’ believes in, moving to marathon after a long career in track is the best way of ensuring a long career in athletics,” the runner who boasts personal bests of 12:46.53 (5000m), 26:49.02 (10000m) and 2:04:05 (marathon) asserted in reference to retired great, compatriot Tergat and Ethiopian legend Haile who have achieved similar milestones and forced successful marathon careers after a stellar stay on track.
Can he emulate them and break the marathon world record? “It is possible but I have to train hard for it. The guys at the top are not easy to beat,” he laughed
The 2003 World champion over 5 000m admitted watching Kimetto break the world record in Berlin to the staggering 2:02:57 just before they ran in Chicago cranked up the pressure.
“It only created more tension and the athletes who ran Chicago just two weeks after he ran that incredible time deserve a medal!” he quipped.
And he believes the standard will come down to uncharted territory sooner rather than later.
“Doctors and Professors in Europe said no man can run the Mile in under 4 minutes and when the first guy did that, 26 of them followed in the next month,” the 2008 Olympics Games silver medallist in 50 00m started channelling his great knowledge in his sport by referencing the achievements of Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister (born 1929) who ran the distance in 3:59.4, a then world record ran on May 6, 1954 in Oxford.
“So people will go under 2:02:57 and beyond (2:02) since training is getting better every day.”