NAIROBI, September 28- Eliud Kipchoge is all but guaranteed a share of $500,000 (Sh52.7m) Abbott World Marathon Majors jackpot following Sunday’s victory in the German capital as the flapping insoles of his Nike shoes dominated the running world.
Kipchoge’s 2:04:00 was 63 seconds short of Dennis Kimetto’s World record set at the same course last year with debate raging whether the specially designed shoes contributed towards robbing the former 5000m world track champion a piece of history.
“It wasn’t a good day for me in these shoes, although they’re actually very good. I tested them in Kenya, but just had bad luck on the day. I had problems from the first kilometre. My goal was the world record but it wasn’t meant to be today,” the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted the former track star now sitting at the throne of marathon running.
“In an embarrassing display for Nike, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge won the race but fell short of a world record after the neon-green insoles of his white running shoes came apart less than an hour into the competition,” WSJ reported.
Despite the failing shoes, Kipchoge added the Berlin title to his victories in the pristine races of Chicago crown last fall and London in April to open up an unassailable lead in WMM charts on 75 points.
His closest rivals for the jackpot are Wilson Kipsang and Kimetto and Kipchoge beat them both at the London Marathon in April.
Kipsang and Kimetto ran the World Championships in Beijing and registered DNFs thereby scoring no points while Kipchoge won his fourth straight marathon and third straight WMM.
November’s New York Marathon where Kipsang is returning to defend his crown is the only slim chance to overhaul arguably the number one marathoner in the world in the race for the jackpot.
“At some point they started coming out but I had no time to remove them. But when you run without soles there is a lot of impact. There was a lot of pain with every step,” the new Berlin king told Reuters.
His latest commanding performance after outlasting former marathon record holder and defending champion, Kipsang in London earned him plaudits across major international running media outlets.
“By the time he reached the finish, blistered and bloodied, there was little doubt that Eliud Kipchoge had established himself as the world’s best marathoner. The Kenyan routed the field at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in a personal best of 2:04:00, finishing 81 seconds ahead of runner-up Eliud Kiptanui,” Runners World wrote.
“As was the 2:19:25 that Gladys Cherono ran to win the women’s race, Kipchoge’s time was the fastest in the world this year. But it was the circumstances under which Kipchoge dispatched the field that established him as the most formidable marathoner in the world,” they added.
The errant insoles also formed part of the glowing report and will no doubt be part of the history of what is officially the fastest marathon course.
“Race director Mark Milde, meanwhile, was busy talking to Kipchoge’s agent, seeing if he could secure Kipchoge’s infamous insoles for a permanent place in the marathon’s museum,” Running World stated.
Women’s winner, Gladys Cherono, almost stole the thunder from Kipchoge when she dropped another world leading 2:19:25 to enhance her reputation further after winning last year’s World Half Marathon title and the silver medal over 10,000m at the Moscow World Championships.
Still a newcomer to the marathon—she debuted in Dubai in January, finishing second in 2:20:03, she ran away from her nearest rival, Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebede, shortly after 35K and was a clear winner.
“There was no difficulties in the race. I was so strong. My next marathon I know I will run faster than today. I think now I can run under 2:19,” she stated after joining the elite list of sub 2:20 female marathoners.