The Boston Marathon of 2023 was expected to be won by Eliud Kipchoge. But Evans Chebet of Kenya outraced him as did three other Kenyans. Ethiopia also had a couple of runners to outpace Kipchoge, and maybe his domination of marathons is over. At 39, Kipchoge has won marathons all over the world.
Kipchoge was born on the fifth of November 1984 in Kapsisiywa, Nandi County, in Kenya. As a student, he ran two miles a day to school every day. At 16, he met Patrick Sang, who became his trainer. Sang was a former Olympic medalist in the steeplechase. Kipchoge started out in competitive running with the 5000-meter distance and won his first individual championship in 2003, winning the junior race of the World Cross Country Championships in Athletics, creating a record time for the race. In 2004, he won a bronze medal in the Olympic 5000, then another bronze at the 2006 World Indoor Championships. He was a five-time finalist in the World Championships and took silver medals in the 2007 World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. For those not familiar with runner racing, the winner receives a gold medal, second place receives a silver, and third place captures a bronze.
In 2012 he switched from the 5000 to the half marathon running – the second-fastest time ever at 59:25 minutes. He switched again in 2013, winning the Hamburg Marathon in record time in Germany. He won his first major marathon at the Chicago Marathon in 2014 and became a series champion a record five times: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022. He has won the London Marathon a record four times and shares the record of five times for the Berlin Marathon with Haile Gebrselassie. Kipchoge has run 18 marathons, winning 15. His three losses were a second-place finish behind Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, an eighth-place finish at the 2020 London Marathon and a sixth-place finish in his first Boston Marathon in 2023. He holds the current world record, and ran a time of 1:59:40.2 in the Challenge of Vienna, which is not considered a championship course.
Eliud Kipchoge was appointed Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart by President Uhuru Kenyatta in October of 2019. The same year he was named the BBC World Sports Star of the Year.
In the World Finals 5000, Kipchoge won gold at Paris in 2003, fourth at Helsinki in 2005, silver at Osaka in 2007, fifth at Berlin in 2009 and seventh at Daegu in 2011. The race is run every two years. In the Olympic Finals of 5000 meters, he won bronze at Athens in 2004 and silver at Beijing in 2008. In Olympic Marathons, he won gold at Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and gold again at Tokyo in 2020.
Eliud Kipchoge will go down in history as one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time.
(Editor’s Note: Bill Stewart, better known to Saugus Advocate readers as “The Old Sachem,” writes a weekly column about sports – and sometimes he opines on current or historical events or famous people.)