When “Time” magazine editors sent Sean Gregory in search of the Kenyan running star who broke the 2-hour time barrier, the journalist found Eliud Kipchoge to be modest and filled with humility, despite his Herculean running resume.
His world records and Olympic medals are great accomplishments, but it’s his character that shone during the interview.
Reluctant to assume the mantle as today’s greatest marathon runner of all time, Kipchoge, born on 5 November 1984, the son of a single mom and the youngest of four siblings, has been focused on the future for most of his life.
At age 16, he was spotted by trainer/coach Patrick Sang, a former Olympic medalist himself, while attending secondary school.
The Road to Glory
Having shown such promise at such an early age, nobody was surprised to see him dressed in the colors of Kenya while standing atop the medal platform to receive a bronze medal in Athens in 2004.
Just two years later, he took the bronze at the 2006 World Championships in Moscow and moved up to silver status in 2008 in Beijing.
On the road to stardom, Kipchoge kept pushing his limits, winning gold during the 2016 summer Olympics where he was heralded as being “only the second Kenyan male after Sammy Wanjiru in Beijing 2008 to win an Olympic marathon gold medal.” Not bad for a man who has yet celebrated his 35th birthday!
A Personal Life Beyond Reproach
Do Kipchoge’s three children see him as the front-page newsmaker whose photo appears above captions like “World record holder Eliud Kipchoge has made history by being the first human to run a marathon in under two hours”?
In fact, he’s just Dad to Lynne, Griffin and Jordon, whose mom Grace Sugut is her husband’s number one fan. Yet their life is fairly ordinary. “I cook for him ugali and mursik and he loves roasted maize so much,” Grace enthuses when talking about meals she makes for the man she adores.
Of course, life has changed dramatically since Eliud became a global sensation. He “Picked up £38,000 for his stunning display in Berlin last year…£534,000 for setting a new world record…£39,000 by winning the 2018 London Marathon and banked £42,500 with his victory in 2019,” notes the publication Networth.
Those feet are the key to an estimated $2.5 million dollars in revenue—not all of it earned by running.
When athletes reach the level of fame ascribed to Kipchoge, it’s not surprising that endorsement deals began pouring in early on. The brand that’s most closely identified with this super runner is Nike, a partnership that harkens back to 2016 when the company’s innovative Vaporfly shoes were introduced as the footwear engineered specifically to “break the 26.2-mile race elusive 2-hour barrier.”
As the runner responsible for setting the milestone, Kipchoge came up just 25 seconds short when a much-publicized test run took place in Italy on May 6, 2017.
Undaunted, he continued to set and break records, while happily enjoying commercial success as a spokesperson for Maurten, a company manufacturing the hydrogel he promotes.
It’s formulated with substantive amounts of easily digested carbs and a product Kipchoge consumed on the day he missed that record-breaking time by 25 seconds. He also serves as a brand ambassador for Isuzu EA Ltd automobiles.
No Road to Success is Paved with Perfection
For Eliud Kipchoge, even his best runs aren’t always ones that are considered successes. When he crossed the finish line with his first record-setting 1:59:40 time at long last, he celebrated by saying, “I’m the happiest man and happy to inspire other people to know that no human is unlimited.”
But his elation was short-lived because the IAAF, the sport’s universal governing body, does not recognise a run “as an official record” if it is achieved outside open competition and uses “in and out” pacemakers.
Was Eliud discouraged? Not a bit. Known by friends, competitors and industry officials alike as “The Philosopher” he takes whatever blows that come his way as life lessons rather than unfortunate incidents.
Also described as a “voracious reader of self-help books,” he adopts quotes uttered by men and women over the ages and uses them to inspire the people he meets on and off the circuit. You may wish to adopt some of Eliud’s favourite sayings yourself!
The wisdom of Kipchoge; In his own words
- “Only the disciplined ones are free in life. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods. You are a slave to your passions.”
- “To win is not important. To be successful is not even important. How to plan and prepare is crucial. When you plan …and prepare very well, then success can come on the way. Then winning can come on your way.”
- “Pleasure in what you are doing is what puts perfection in your work–that’s a quote by Aristotle.”
- “Mental fitness plays a big role during competition. If you don’t rule your mind, your mind will rule you. That’s the way I think about this sport.”
- “I’m confident to say that if you want to grow in a profession, consistency is the key…I’m strict about my work goals and training. If I miss one training, then I will not sleep well.”
- “In the marathon, the first half is just a normal run. The marathon start is after 30 kilometers. That’s where you feel pain everywhere in your body…and only the most prepared and well-organized athlete is going to do well after that.”
- “Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Accept change.”
- “When I have a lot of pain, I try to confuse my mind to forget about the pain and think about the distance. I don’t want pain to be in my mind, because I’d really lose focus on running.”
- “I believe in what I am doing. To run a big marathon and win takes five months. When I’m on the starting line, my mind starts reviewing what I have been doing the last five months. I believe in my training, and I treat myself as the best one standing on that line.”
- “I always tell people that this is a really simple deal: Work hard. If you work hard, follow what’s required and set your priorities right, then you can really perform without taking shortcuts. If you’re taking shortcuts, you can’t be free.”
A Role Model For The World
RunSociety is proud to have followed the career of Eliud Kipchoge for so many years, we are interested in his life and accomplishments.
For example, in 2017 we were excited to profile his latest accomplishment by covering “the fastest man in marathon history” beneath this headline, “Eliud Kipchoge Sets New Record in the History of Running”.
We contributed our own perspective the following year. “Record Breaking Marathoner Eliud Kipchoge Reveals The Secret”. This is a must-read that’s especially helpful to readers eager for all of the advice Kipchoge has to offer.
What can you learn from Eliud Kipchoge? A better question to ask might be “What can’t you learn from this humble titan?”
More About World Fastest Marathoner Eliud Kipchoge
Who is Kipchoge Eliud?
Born on 5 November 1984, Kipchoge Eliud is the fastest marathoner in the world with a current world record holder of 2:01:39, set on 16 September 2018, at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Who is the fastest long distance runner in the world?
Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge is the fastest marathoner in the world. He won the Olympic marathon in 2016 and is the current marathon world record holder with a time of 2:01:39 hours.
How fast was Eliud Kipchoge running?
The pace that Kipchoge was running is 13mph in his world record race at the Berlin Marathon.
Where does Eliud Kipchoge live?
Kipchoge lives with his wife and three children(Lynne, Griffin and Jordon) in Eldoret, Kenya.