If only we ran our affairs the way Kipchoge runs a marathon

Friday October 11 2019

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line to win the elite men's race of the 2019 London Marathon in central London on April 28, 2019. He believes that things can only be done when you put your hand up and offer to be the face of scrutiny. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL | AFP


After months of patience and weeks of anxiety, Eliud Kipchoge finally takes to the Austrian city of Vienna in a superhuman attempt to lower the marathon record to under two hours.

While we have been warned that this is more of a scientific experiment than an athletics event, Kenyans have made it known that the race organisers can describe it the way they want, but we shall focus on the record first, then engage in a description contest later.

The Ineos team would never have chosen a more befitting candidate for this feat. Eliud Kipchoge is not your ordinary athlete. He lives a quiet life with the humility of a monk.

He mingles freely with people, because he has never eaten anyone's goat and hasn't let the fame get into his head. That's what you get for working in silence and letting your results do the talking.

The result notwithstanding, Kipchoge will be remembered for coming forward to be the face of this trial when it was easier and more convenient to coil up and let it pass. That's the hallmark of leadership.



Leaders step up to be counted when the chips are down. When the debate is raging and self-doubt occupies the minds of many, you will know who the real leaders are by their actions, not words.

Kipchoge chose to be the face of this experiment, not because he is immortal but because he is just an ordinary athlete who believes that things can only be done when you put your hand up and offer to be the face of scrutiny.

When he emerges down the tunnel for the greatest race of his life, everything in Kenya will come to a standstill for the entire duration of this event, because this race is about breaking barriers, and Kenya has many.

If you were asked to list all the barriers that need to be broken in this country, a whole day’s conference would not be enough to complete it.

Hunger, ignorance, disease, poverty... We are losing jobs, schools are collapsing on our children, farmers are uprooting tea bushes, and Mumias Sugar has just joined a long list of companies facing liquidation.


You look at our country and wonder which witch cast a spell on us. Our politics has oscillated between ethnic hatred and mass violence, public appointments take a regional angle; it took us 11 days to locate a mass object submerged 58 metres in a busy channel; we clap for mediocrity and wave away bad governance.

If Kenya was an animal, we would be the cross-breed of a chameleon and a goldfish. We change our political allegiance faster than a disco light; our collective amnesia is so pitiful we should be in the running for a Nobel Prize for memory loss.

You would expect those responsible for the dire state of affairs in this country to pick up a lesson or two from Eliud Kipchoge's quest to break the glass ceiling.

But alas, we have a better chance drawing blood from a stone than getting our government run the way Eliud Kipchoge runs a marathon.

Even the public officials building multimillion-shilling private mansions using public money are agreed that Kipchoge is the greatest of all time.


Politicians who had no qualms supporting punitive tax laws will also be cheering on top of their voices as Kipchoge cracks that human barrier.

Everyone loves to be associated with performers. Even those running down our country will be on social media with long posts lecturing us on why we should emulate Eliud Kipchoge.

If the marathoner inspires you so much as to associate with his individual success, why haven't you translated those lessons into the day-to-day running of public office?

If you mean everything you say about Eliud Kipchoge, then why are you still engaging in electoral malpractices and defending the corrupt?

If Kipchoge's humility is a virtue all leaders should replicate, then why are you still insulting your political opponents every time you find a microphone under your nose?


This government would rather die than emulate Kipchoge's work ethic. If PR would eradicate poverty, Kenya would have been a first-world country, the stadium in Kamariny, which is historic, would already have hosted the Africa Cup of Nations and Chris Msando would have been promoted to a higher office instead of glory.

Kenyans are in no mood to read hollow words from officials who do not care about the welfare of this country. If you mean everything you say about Eliud Kipchoge, then pronounce yourself on the state of our economy.

If you aren't going to show us the world-class stadia you promised to complete in six months, there is no need to waste time listening to your monotonous talk on Eliud Kipchoge.

Kenyans would rather watch paint dry than entertain officials who do not care whether they die or live.

The writer comments on topical issues; [email protected]