Sunday, September 16, 2018

Kipchoge: The GOAT


Eliud Kipchoge and
Coach Patrick Sang
This morning, in Berlin Germany, Eliud Kipchoge broke the world record for 26 miles, 385 yards: the marathon. He ran 2 hours, 1 minute, 39 seconds. Roughly an average of 4:37 per mile for the distance. For Kipchoge, it was the only obstacle left in his unbelievable career. And also, the only obstacle that kept him from being seen as the Greatest Marathoner Of All Time.

Kipchoge, at this point, has run 11 marathons and won 10 of them. He has the fastest time ever run, a 2:00:25 in Nike’s Breaking 2 project (not eligible for a ratified World Record for a host of reasons). He has an Olympic Gold Medal. And now this world record. He is completely superior to every other marathoner in the world today (and ever).

The most exciting aspect of this, the reason I was SO excited to watch Kipchoge’s run, is that Eliud Kipchoge is also a remarkable human being. Now, it’s not like he and I are buds. It’s not like I know the real Eliud Kipchoge. But having devoured every interview, every video clip, each social media offering, I am convinced that this is a good man, who loves what he does, and most importantly loves life. In a world where athletes are idolized, coddled, and spoiled, Eliud Kipchoge is the anti-athlete. He is, more than anything, an amazing person.

Thought of as the zen marathoner, Kipchoge has mastered the mindset of being the best he can be. That best he can be, by the way, is the best in the world: ever. It was amazing watching him dissect the Berlin course today, drop his pacers earlier than scheduled, and smile through the painful final miles. When marathoners generally “suffer” to the end, Kipchoge makes it look fast, yet hard, yet graceful. In the end, he chopped 1:18 off Dennis Kimetto’s previous world record.

Most enjoyable, was Kipchoge’s joy at the finish line (see the finish at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHYiEED05pM ). It was easy to see that today’s record was the culmination of many miles, much planning, and significant investment by everyone involved. Such a pleasure to watch and WAY better than that sport that usually occupies Sundays (by the way, maybe Nike needs to focus their next “hit” commercial on THIS great athlete).

Kipchoge celebration shirt
If marathoning were as American as football or basketball, Kipchoge would be a billionaire. Nike would have him on your television, your favorite magazine, almost everywhere you'd look. Or maybe not. It might not be his style.

Afterwards I hit the Snake River trail in Idaho Falls, ID trying to channel my inner Kipchoge. While I failed miserably on the physical front, I made up for it with my Kipchoge t-shirt. Logged 7 miles which put me over 1700 for the year, so no complaints there. Just couldn’t get in the zen place. Maybe next time.

Oh well, as Eliud would say, “run with the run.”

Run on.

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