NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – Just slightly over three weeks after making history by smashing Dennis Kimetto’s four-year Marathon World Record, Olympic Champion Eliud Kipchoge says that the feeling is dawning on him and finally, it no longer feels like a dream.
Kipchoge ran the race of his life at the Berlin Marathon on September 16 to finish in a time of 2:01:39, shedding one minute and 12 seconds off Kimetto’s record set at the same course in 2014.
“Actually, it was like a dream but now at least I have realized it’s a reality that I actually ran 2:01:39,” Kipchoge told Capital Sport with a wide grin on his face as he continues to busk in the glory of being the fastest mane ever over the men’s Marathon.
The 33-year old says he believed he was within range of breaking the World Record especially after coming so close to it during the 2016 London Marathon where he missed the target by a mere eight seconds.
More so in Monza, Italy last year, Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 in Nike’s Breaking Two project and he says this further fueled his belief that he was actually in the frame of making it happen.
“It was really big to confirm the achievement and being called a World Record holder. This is something that I have been looking for for a very long time. Although last year I ran the fastest time ever in the world in Monza, I had to confirm it to the normal world by running a record in Berlin,” the soft spoken Olympic champion stated.
On his preparation for Berlin, Kipchoge knew something was on its way.
“Before you do a wonderful thing, before you break a World Record, you have to internalize it, think about it, dream it and actually bring those thoughts up to when you are crossing the line even when you are yet to do so.”
“I internalized these thoughts in all my training that I want to run a World Record. Even if it was a second, I said it was still okay because it would still have the tag of a World Record,” Kipchoge recalls with nostalgia.
The athlete whose coach Patrick Sang has described as the easiest athlete to ever work with, tried his shot at the record in Berlin last year, but a mixture of drain from the Breaking Two project and poor weather made it impossible.
This year, it was all for him to claim it, and he did so with a huge bang.
“The revelation in Monza after the experience was that the human potential is unlimited. That experience gave him and us as the support system the belief that whatever he had achieved, he still had some potential that was not exploited fully. That belief is what propelled him to the next level and into what we witnessed in Berlin,” Coach Sang told Capital Sport.
The renowned trainer who has been with the athlete since his days on track almost two decades ago however insists that for them, it has always not been about the records but running a race better than the last one and picking a time faster than the fastest one.
“He had shown a World record potential after running several times which were very close to it then went on to do an unofficial two hour run over the same distance. It was just a matter of all the factors coming together and the ideal conditions. Our target was a Personal Best, and it came with a record,” the coach noted.
On Thursday as he officially was unveiled as the 2018 Isaiah Kiplagat Ndalat Gaa Cross Country race ambassador, Kipchoge said; “In this world, you are remembered for only two things; the problems you create, and the problems you solve.”
More or less, Kipchoge now features in both. He has solved a problem and created another. He almost broke the two-hour barrier in Monza and in Berlin, he broke the two hour, two minute barrier.
On whether anyone else will be confident enough to lower the new record which looks and sounds insane, both Sang and Kipchoge have not ruled out chances that it will go lower; either taken down by Kipchoge himself or anyone else.
“I have demonstrated by running two hours flat that anything is possible. I have also demonstrated the record is achievable by running 2:01:39. The whole generation knows that there is nothing that can prevent a human from running fast,” Kipchoge said in his modest way.
He added; “I don’t want to say now (whether I will break it or not) but what I know is I have demonstrated fully and I believe it is possible for anyone to break the record.”
His coach Sang is also of the same opinion. The record might fall at any time.
“Good performance is as a result of investing in many things including the training support system and on the material day several things must be ideal. If everything comes together, Eliud or any other athlete will run faster than 2:01:39,” Sang noted.
But meanwhile, Kipchoge is still savoring his new-found love and resting his body before venturing into a new ambition, most likely the London Marathon in April next year.
The soft-spoken Kipchoge with heavy nuggets of wisdom under his breath says he has been hugely surprised by the love shown by Kenyans both online and offline since his record-breaking feat.
“I am really surprised! I didn’t expect a normal human being like me can create such big attention but I appreciate those giving me good attention in a positive way,” the elated and equally surprised Kipchoge said.
Kipchoge has already been rewarded as an Isuzu brand ambassador with the company having promised him a brand new D-Max if he broke the record. They kept their word and was awarded last week.
he has now called for more corporates to get into athletics and associate themselves with the success that comes with it.
At the same time, he has also touched on the thorny issue of doping which has threatened to tain Kenya’s image with four athletes this year already flagged down by the Athletics Integrity Unit.
“Doping is unfortunate and we need to sensitize people to run clean and love the sport. I will be participating in talking to young professional athletes and those in school to really love the sport and train to earn good results, not the money. What makes people dope or look for shortcuts is money attitude,” Kipchoge advised.