Nelson Mandela is my inspiration, says newest Laureus Ambassador Eliud Kipchoge
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NAIROBI – Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s greatest marathon runner and the first athlete to break the two hour mark for a marathon, was on Wednesday announced as a Laureus Sport for Good Ambassador.
Laureus Sport for Good was created 20 years ago in the aftermath of a remarkable speech by Nelson Mandela at the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000.
The announcement was made on the second anniversary of one of his greatest athletics feats, when Kipchoge ran the fastest time ever in a marathon in Berlin in 2 hrs 1 min 39 secs. With this, he broke the previous record by 78 seconds, the biggest improvement on the marathon world record in 51 years.
Eliud, the latest in a long line of distinguished Kenyan long distance runners, and a winner of the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award, also famously became the only athlete to run a marathon in under two hours, recording 1hr 59mins 40secs, in Vienna in October 2019. It was a landmark achievement, though not an official world record because it was not in open competition.
In an interview with Laureus Academy Member and Olympic legend Michael Johnson on Laureus.com, Kipchoge has confirmed his intention to compete in the marathon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics next year, even though he would be 36.
“I was really looking forward to running in the Tokyo Olympics. Unfortunately Covid-19 changed the world and health and safety is the first priority,” said Eliud. “I am really looking forward to running next year. It will be an honour to be there next year, I am fit and will do everything I can to make the Kenyan team and represent my country.”
He says he is also looking forward to competing in the re-arranged London Marathon on October 4. “I am happy to be coming back to London for a very different and exciting race. I have prepared as best I can under the circumstances, I think I am ready. We will miss all the fun runners and the crowds. In my mind we will still run together. Actually that is an extra motivation to run a great race.”
In addition to his sporting targets, Eliud is now a member of the Laureus Family whose goal is to use the power of sport to change young people’s lives for the better.
He joins a group of more than 200 Laureus Ambassadors and 69 Laureus World Sports Academy Members, all of whom work to support Laureus Sport for Good. Since its inception, Laureus has improved the lives of six million young people in over 40 countries and currently supports more than 200 community sports-based programmes.
Eliud, who has won 12 of the 13 marathons he has entered, said: “I am feeling truly glad to be an Ambassador for Laureus. I will be joining great sportsmen and women of this world to share good ideas about sport. On the other hand I will be involved to see how Laureus is helping foundations that benefit the human family.
Laureus uses sport to bring communities and individuals together. This will be even more important in the future as we try to rebuild our world for the better. I am really happy to be an Ambassador.”