Kenya is celebrating, thanks again to its long distance runner Eliud Kipchoge, who made it to the history books Saturday.
The world simply erupted when Kipchoge conquered the INEOS 1:59 Challenge at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria, crossing the finish line in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds. That saw Kipchoge, the Olympic champion and world marathon record holder, distinguish himself as the first man to win a marathon under two hours.
Kipchoge, who was assisted by 41 pacesetters, enters the Guinness Book of World Records, though his feat will not be recognised by the world athletics governing body, IAAF, as the new marathon world record.
It was the second time Kipchoge was attempting to run sub-two hours, having fallen short by 26 seconds during the Breaking2 event in Monza, Italy in 2017, where he timed 2:00:25. Kipchoge’s accomplishment comes a year after he set a new world marathon record in Berlin Marathon, running 2:01:39.
That Kipchoge can now dare dream about breaking his own world record running under two hours at a certified course goes without saying. His achievement undoubtedly illustrates that human beings cannot be limited in their endeavours if they challenge themselves and work hard.
Kipchoge is simply an inspiration not only to youngsters who want to take up sports, or established athletes who want to break records, but also to those who want to make their lives better through hard work and honest living.
His accomplishment comes at a time when the country is reeling from a doping scourge, and when athletes are lamenting poor sporting infrastructure. Still, he has proved that athletes can achieve good times and victories without using shortcuts.
Kipchoge won his first World title in 5,000m in 2003 but only got to win an Olympic gold in marathon 13 years later at the 2016 Summer Games. He has lived up to his promise, having delivered an Olympic title, World Record and the fastest time in marathon.
It’s now time for the government to also deliver on its promise to sportsmen and women in the country through the provision of good training facilities, good education, and employment. The Jubilee government promised five ultra-modern stadia when it came to power seven years ago but has not delivered.
Indeed, it is a shame that Rift Valley has produced many Kenyan athletes without a proper stadium. These are things Kipchoge had highlighted before traveling to Vienna, and it is only proper that government lives up to its promise.