NAIROBI – The value of the effect of a moment in time was perfectly demonstrated when Eliud Kipchoge set the world marathon record of 2:01:39 in Berlin in September and immediately afterwards embraced his coach Patrick Sang.
Sang, the 1992 Olympic and two-time world steeplechase silver medallist, explained the background to the journey travelled by the two Kenyans.
“It made me reflect on a moment 18 years ago when Eliud, then a young man, asked me to help him with his training,” said Sang. “It makes me wonder had I told him ‘no, get out of my way’, would we have seen this magnificent performance from Eliud?
“It has taught me the value of never taking anything for granted.”
The image of the two runners, past and present, embracing has become one of the most iconic of the athletics season.
“The picture evokes so many emotions in me,” said Sang. “It was, in some ways, a reflection of our journey together and that we had arrived at our destination. When you see first-hand someone put in so much hard work over many years and for them (Eliud) to deliver was such an emotional moment.
“I can’t really recall what I said to Eliud at this moment, but I know his only words were ‘thank you’. I don’t know whether he was thanking me, or God or somebody else, I’m not sure (laughs).
Sang added that one of the main factors for Kipchoge’s success in Berlin was his temperament.
“He did not feel the extra pressure,” said Sang. “He managed the whole situation very well.
“I was also pleased when I was told that Eliud was going to be in the first group on his own with the pacemakers.
“I felt this gave him every opportunity to run at exactly the pace he wanted and, if all things came together, something special was going to happen.”
African News Agency (ANA)