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What Kipchoge’s marathon win teaches us

Saturday May 4 2019

Eliud Kipchoge

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. PHOTO | BEN STANSALL | AFP 

GLADYS BURINI
By GLADYS BURINI
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Running is an individual sport, but not for Eliud Kipchoge.

The fastest marathon runner was not fazed by the Ethiopian runners taking to his heel in the London Marathon.

Kipchoge was seen encouraging the Ethiopians who came second, third and fourth to run faster in the now fastest London Marathon on record.

This was the epitome of the marathon. Would you encourage your rival to do better and if possible surpass you?

Despite this encouragement, Kipchoge did not falter in his pace and quest to be the first person to win the London Marathon four times!

He is his own rival and everyone else in the same race is his pace setter. It is no wonder he set yet another record for the second fastest marathon run by any human being.

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PERSEVERANCE

Kipchoge has proved his own words, “no human is limited”, to be steadfast and true. In his record 12th marathon win, nine months after setting his own world record of 2.01.39, he was 58 seconds shy of breaking it again in the London Marathon.

But all these records did not come easily to Kipchoge. He began as a long distance runner competing in 5000m, winning bronze in the 2004 Olympics and losing the gold medal to Kenenisa Bekele in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Kipchoge did not make it for the 2012 Olympics in London and from here he switched to competing in marathons.

What if Kipchoge gave up on running at this point and called it quits? It takes impeccable wisdom to know when it’s times to change tack.

If things are not working and chasing success is a never ending chore, it doesn’t hurt to attempt succeeding elsewhere.

WORLD RECORD

The irony is Kipchoge went on to beat Bekele in the 2015 London Marathon, and Wilson Kipsang, the only person who had beaten him in a marathon.

By 2017 Kipchoge had proved to be a great marathoner having won four marathons, and had he participated in the London Marathon that year he would have won it and we would be speaking of, ‘The unlimited human who won five London Marathons’.

Kipchoge is in impeccable form and is likely to remain unbeaten in any marathon he competes in.

It is now no longer a question if Kipchoge will run a marathon in under two hours. Come September 29, we are looking at a new world record in Berlin.

But our running philosopher emphasises: “If you work hard, follow what’s required and set your priorities right, then you can really perform without taking shortcuts.” But let’s admit it; we do not love hard work.

HARD WORK

If we can get away with doing the bare minimum or nothing and still succeed, we will take that option!

We know what is required but we just cannot be bothered to follow through if we can cut corners. Our priorities may be right but our path to fulfilling them is far from integrity.

Eliud Kipchoge has sent us a resounding message that the road to greatness and success is not paved with shortcuts.

Kipchoge is a running engine. He is built from grit, hard work, succeeding with grace and integrity marathon after marathon; for himself, the pride of a nation and the admiration of the world over.

The writer focuses on children’s issues; [email protected]

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