By Jonathan Gault
April 29, 2019
LONDON — Monday was the London Marathon champions’ press conference, the last chance for the media to see Eliud Kipchoge before he returns to Kenya, where he’ll rest for two or three weeks before starting training anew. The first words out of his famously humble mouth?
“I think yesterday was a good race.”
That’s one way to describe his 2:02:37 victory, a London course record and the second-fastest marathon ever run. Otherworldly, masterful, or magical would be more accurate.
Kipchoge is famous for his single-minded focus. In yesterday’s post-race press conference, he was asked for plans beyond London, and responded with a classic Kipchogeism:
“I come from Africa, and in Africa, we don’t chase two rabbits at once. My rabbit was actually London Marathon.”
Yesterday, Kipchoge caught that rabbit. And while he said he would finalize his next marathon next month once he returns to Kenya, Kipchoge did confirm something that his agent Valentijn Trouw suggested to LetsRun last week.
“I trust that before I see the sport out that I will run all six major marathons,” Kipchoge said.
So get excited, America. Kipchoge is coming (again – at some point).
Kipchoge has run three of the six World Marathon Majors — London (four times), Berlin (four times), and Chicago (once, in his last race in the US in 2014). That leaves Tokyo, Boston, and New York remaining. No man has won them all.
Two of those races, obviously, are in the United States. And though Kipchoge has already run, and won, a marathon in the US in Chicago, he was not the global superstar that he would eventually become. He wasn’t even the biggest name in the 2014 Chicago field; Kenenisa Bekele, coming off a successful marathon debut in Paris that spring, was the headliner.
Eliud Kipchoge’s races in the USA
|June 4, 2005||Pre Classic||2 miles||1st, 8:07.68|
|May 28, 2006||Pre Classic||2 miles||2nd, 8:12.29|
|June 10, 2007||Pre Classic||1 mile||6th, 3:57.19|
|June 7, 2009||Pre Classic||3000 meters||6th, 7:38.24|
|April 11, 2010||Carlsbad 5000||5k road||1st, 13:11|
|July 3, 2010||Pre Classic||5000 meters||4th, 13:01.17|
|April 3, 2011||Carlsbad 5000||5k road||2nd, 13:14|
|June 4, 2011||Pre Classic||2 miles||6th, 8:16.74|
|April 1, 2012||Carlsbad 5000||5k road||3rd, 13:14|
|June 1, 2012||Pre Classic||10,000 meters||7th, 27:11.93|
|June 2, 2013||Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half||Half marathon||2nd, 60:18|
|October 12, 2014||Chicago Marathon||Marathon||1st, 2:04:11|
Chronologically, New York would be the next “new” World Marathon Major for Kipchoge to try out. And since Kipchoge already has the world record, he won’t have the same incentive to return to Berlin this fall to chase a fast time. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be running NYC in 2019; someone “in the know” told me in London that Kipchoge’s next marathon won’t be a major (perhaps Amsterdam, where his management, Global Sports Communication, handles the elite field?).
It probably won’t be Worlds in Doha either. Kipchoge, when asked whether he’d be interested in becoming marathon world champion, replied with a smile, “but I am world champion on the track.” We won’t know for sure where Kipchoge will compete next until we hear from the man himself.
What about Boston? That could take a while. Kipchoge said that London is his favorite place to run — “the organization in London is perfect…the crowd is actually wonderful” — and I wouldn’t be surprised if he keeps defending his title in London until he loses. (If that ever happens.) But if his goal is to run all six majors, he will eventually have to run Boston, and how incredible would it be for American fans to see the greatest marathoner of all time lining up at the start in Hopkinton, navigating his way through the Scream Tunnel in Wellesley, making the right onto Hereford and left onto Boylston?
A few other Kipchoge tidbits before I catch my flight back to the US:
Kipchoge’s post-race beverage of choice? Tea.
Kipchoge was asked today how he would celebrate when he returns home to Kenya. To hear him tell it, the celebration is already over.
“I am one of the men who don’t actually like celebrations,” Kipchoge said. “I think celebrations ended yesterday at the finish line.”
Instead, after the race yesterday, he gathered with his sponsors and management and enjoyed a cup of tea. That’s as adventurous as he got — Kipchoge said he didn’t drink any alcohol yesterday. In fact, outside of a few traditional ceremonies, he doesn’t drink at all.
“We have traditions in Kenya, during circumcision and all those things,” Kipchoge said. “But purely, I don’t drink alcohol.”
Check out Kipchoge’s personalized training shoes
There’s been a lot of talk about the shoes Kipchoge wore in yesterday’s race, but I was also interested in the pair he had on today, a custom pair of size-10 Nike Pegasus Turbos. Kipchoge said that he does easy runs in these shoes, which feature his logo — which I’d never seen before — on one side and the colors of the Kenyan flag on the other, accompanied by Kipchoge’s signature in gold and one of his most famous quotes, “no human is limited.”