Eliud Kipchoge’s decision to have a go at dipping under the two-hour barrier in the marathon comes with a huge personal sacrifice.
The Olympic champion over the 42-kilometre distance has had to forgo the trappings that come with his good running fortunes and, most significantly, he’s having to stay away from his family over long periods.
The Spartan life and strict training regime that Kipchoge and his team-mates endure at the NN Running Club/ Global Sports Communication training camp in Kaptagat is not for the faint-hearted.
“It is always hard to have to say goodbye to my wife and three children,” he said in an interview published in www.ineos159challenge.com recently.
“For the past two months, I have spent time living at home with them in Eldoret. However, for the past 17 years of my career, I have spent time in camp and they understand these are the sacrifices I need to make to fulfil my running potential.”
Kipchoge’s mantra is that “no human is limited.” The superstar’s general weekly programme sees him train weekdays at Kaptagat, with (usually once weekly) track sessions in Eldoret, before he breaks — religiously on Saturdays — to spend the weekend with his family at their Eldoret home, attending Sunday Catholic Mass in Eldoret, before resuming the punishing regime on Monday.
“Life must continue, and each weekend, I will return from camp to spend time with them,” he says, referring to his wife Grace and children Lynne, Griffin and Jordon whom he describes as his “ignition key.”
“I’m a low-key person. I always have a way of celebrating with my family,” he told me after receiving the IAAF Male World Athlete of the Year in Monaco last November.
At the Kaptagat camp, Kipchoge’s team-mates call him “The boss man.” They accord him huge respect, although you wouldn’t know just who is boss, given his down-to-earth demeanour.
And, in turn, Kipchoge shows massive respect for them. “100 percent of me is nothing compared to one percent of the whole team,” is one of his famous quotes.
Of this training group, Augustine Choge and Victor Chumo have been picked to be among the elite group of pacemakers when Kipchoge goes for the record run in Vienna on October 12.
“Eliud Kipchoge is a really nice guy. He’s our mentor here in Kaptagat,” three time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, who is also part of the NN Running Team, says in an interview with INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
“We learn a lot from him. He’s a cool guy. He’s a humble guy. He’s a focused guy. He also believes in teamwork and working hard.”
Choge, a world champion at junior level in the 3,000 metres (2003), 5,000 metres (2004) and cross country (2005) agrees.
“I’ve been a close friend of Eliud and mine is to just give him moral support because when he sees me, at least he will have some bit of courage and he won’t tense a lot,” says Choge.