WATCH: From milk transporter to marathon world record holder - the Kipchoge story
By: Michael Sherman
JOHANNESBURG - As the world record-holder in the men’s marathon, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge is renowned for his exploits over 42.2km, as he overcame humble beginnings as a milk transporter in Nandi County using his mother’s bicycle.
After finishing school at Kaptel High School in Nandi County in the North Rift of Kenya, a young Kipchoge was forced to try and earn a meagre living to help his single mother raise her four children.
He first started work in a butchery, before closing to buy and transport milk by bicycle in the Kimono area some five kilometres away. Wanting to use another bike which belonged to a friend, he needed to run five kilometres - which would prove to be the first step in a long journey to global athletics stardom.
After he was spotted covering the distance with ease and grace, he was encouraged to enter an athletics event in Kapsabet, and in his first race he finished second. A short while later he made it to the Nandi District provincials in 2001 at the age of 16, where he met former Olympic medalist in the steeplechase, Patrick Sang, who would go on to train the budding star.
In 2002, he won the Kenyan trials and was selected to compete at the World Cross Country Championships junior race. A fifth place in the event held that year in Dublin, Ireland, was a sign of things to come. The next year at the World Cross Country Championship held in Lausanne, Switzerland, he announced his arrival on the world stage with victory.
Among his countless achievements, his bronze in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens in the 5000m stands out. He would go on to better that at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with silver in the 5000m.
Though he was an incredibly accomplished athlete by that stage, his switch to the marathon in 2013 would be where he would cement his legendary status. He won his first 42.2km International race at the 2013 Hamburg Marathon in a course record time of 2:05:30.
Despite finishing runner-up in his second race at the 2013 Berlin Marathon - incidentally to fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang who won in a world record time of 2:03:23 - he has since remained unbeaten in his next 10 marathons. That run includes an Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics and the world record (2:01:39) he still holds which he set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Turning 36 on November 5, time is no longer on his side - but one suspects, if he chooses, he could still dominate the world stage for the foreseeable future.
African News Agency (ANA)