Eliud Kipchoge challenges limits of human endeavor, citing his tribal upbringing : And one afternoon in January, three months after he became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours, Eluid Kipchoge sat on a bench outside his Rift Valley training camp, reflecting on how it felt to be newly minted sporting icon.

Kipchoge wasn't new to the spotlight : he had captured his first world title, on the track, back in 2003, won 11 of the 12 marathons he had entered, and held the marathon world record since September 2018.

But his one hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds in Vienna last Oct had brought a heightened level of  acclaim and celebrity. In Kenya his image was everywhere on billboards, nightly newscasts and life-size cardboard's cutouts. The hashtag ''Nohumanislimited'' had gone viral.

Kipchoge was among the world's best on the track for a decade before finding his true calling in the marathon. In 2016, he won the Olympic marathon in Brazil. The following year, he just missed breaking the two-hour barrier at a special event organised by Nike at a Formula 1 racetrack in Italy.

After back-to-back victories at the London Marathon and his 2 : 01 : 39 official world record in Berlin, Kipchoge accepted an offer from Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire chairman of the British chemical firm Ineos, to take another stab at what some called running's last great barrier.

The image of him, in white shoes and singlet, floating through Vienna's streets en route to his 1:59:40, is etched in the sport's pantheon.

Kipchogo has the requisite raw physical talent for racing, but the qualities that set him above the rest, Sand and several teammates said in interviews, involved his unmatched combination of  discipline, self-belief and psychological mettle. Sand spoke of Kipchoge's ability to ''focus a notch higher'' - during training, at key moments in races, and in avoiding distractions brought by fame and wealth.

Many of Kenya's stars have veered off track because of alcohol or bad investments. Kipchoge shuns nightlife for the quiet of the camp, where he pitches in with daily chores and spends the free time reading books.

''He's just a hardworking guy, a simple guy, who believes in himself so much,'' said Geoffrey Kamworor, a training partner who won the 2019 New York City Marathon and set the half-marathon world record last September.

''The key ingredient, for him, is a strong mind,'' Sang added.

Kipchoge laughs when asked if he possesses any special abilities, calling it a ''communal secret.'' Still, he credits his Talai upbringing with teaching him to embrace sacrifice - the sorts that compelled his ancestors to resist the British, and has fueled his longevity as a world class athlete.

The World Students Society thanks author Jonathan W. Rosen.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!