At 37, Eliud Kipchoge has 15 wins from 17 marathon attempts, two Olympic gold medals, and a ground-breaking unofficial record during the 2019 INEOS 1:59 Challenge, where he set the quickest time in history, finishing under the already impressive 2hr mark. The world has watched the athlete embody his catchphrase “No Human is Limited” as he continues to defy the odds and push the limits of the human body.
Leading up to his latest fete, Kipchoge received massive support from all corners of the world, including Formula One great Lewis Hamilton. The resounding message, “When you are on that starting line, right before you challenge history… We’re always there with you. Let’s do this together.”
Despite his repeated ability to surpass expectations, his performance at the 2022 Berlin Marathon on the 25th of September was another marvel. The runner clocked an average speed of 21.02 km/h or 2 minutes 52 seconds per km and a mindboggling 14:21.4 per 5km to finish in 2:01:09- a full 30 seconds faster than his previous world record. This was his second marathon this year after winning the Tokyo Marathon in March.
The Olympics website reports that by the halfway point, his time of 59:51 was close to a minute faster than the pace of his own previous official world record of 2:01:39 set on the same course in 2018. In the beginning, the Ethiopian pair of Guye Adola (the 2021 winner) and Andamlak Belihu kept up with Kipchoge’s blistering pace until the 10km point, which they crossed in 28:23- well within the world record target.
It was then down to Kipchoge and Belihu at the 25km after the last pacer dropped off, at which point the 37-year-old gradually pulled away.
Kipchoge admitted to having a plan to race the first half marathon in “60:50, 60:40” but changed his mind when he realised how fast he was running.
“I thought my legs were running actually very fast, and I thought, oh let me just try to run two hours flat, but all in all, I am happy with the performance,” he said. Although he only just missed his goal, the world champion beat second-placed Mark Korir to the finish line by over five minutes.
He casually talked about missing the two-hour mark saying, “We went too fast… It takes energy from the muscles.”
Marathon Record Breaking and future aspirations
The recent history of record-breaking in the men’s marathon started in 2003 when Kenyan icon Paul Tergat became the first man to break 2:05. Then another Kenyan Dennis Kimetto set the 2:02:57 world record in 2014 which endured until Kipchoge broke it four years ago and then kept reducing the achievable time.
Now the marathon giant is focusing on becoming the first runner to win three Olympic marathon titles in Paris in 2024 and wants to win all six annual World Marathon Majors- he has won four already and would be adding Boston and New York to his belt.
His Olympic aspirations could surpass Samuel Wanjiru’s record times. He was the first Kenyan to win the Olympic marathon title and did so in Beijing with an Olympic record time of 2:06:32, which still stands as the OR. And with his gold medal in Beijing 2008 at the age of 22, he became the youngest ever Olympic marathon champion since 1932.