Eliud Kipchoge training group, photo by Justin Lagat
This is the second in the new series by Justin Lagat on the top Kenyan competitors for the Fall Marathon Majors events. This piece is on Eliud Kipchoge, whose training is set for the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Eliud Kipchoge to run his own race in Chicago, by Justin Lagat
Many would expect that Eliud Kipchoge will be out for revenge against Kenenisa Bekele. Bekele, for a number of times, had prevent Kipchoge from winning gold medals in the 5,000 meter track event. During major championship events, when the two were at the top of the world in track distance running, Kenenisa Bekele had been the nemesis of Eliud Kipchoge.
But, Eliud Kipchoge apparently has other ideas, according to his responses when RunBlogRun visited him at his training camp this week to check on his preparations ahead of this year’s Chicago Marathon.
Eliud Kipchoge and his training group, photo by Justin Lagat
“Marathon is different from track running. I know everybody will be aiming to win and that’s also what I will be aiming to do. I will run my best and will be happy if I will win. As for Kenenisa Bekele, I am not going to Chicago marathon to compete against him, but rather to run my own race,” said Kipchoge.
Besides aiming for a win, Kipchoge said he will also be striving to lower his PB time of 2:04.05 in Chicago. He did not want to talk much about going for Dennis Kimetto’s course record of 2:03.45, but did not rule out the possibility of that happening, especially if there will be good pace makers in the race and if they will be doing some team work with the other Kenyans in the race that will include Sammy Kitwara, Bernard Koech and Dickson Chumba. For now, each of the Kenyans going for the Chicago marathon are doing their individual training in different camps and they have not yet met to discuss if there will be a race strategy among them.
His training is so far going on well and is on course.
Being one of the athletes who have remained competitive in running for a long time, RunBlogRun was curious to know how he has managed to remain so.
“Discipline summarizes everything. I took up running seriously as my profession. I remained disciplined not only in matters to do with running, but in life generally. It involved making sacrifices and foregoing other pleasures that could interfere with my profession,” he said.
Talking of being disciplined generally in life, Kipchoge struck me as a perfect role model to instill that to anyone who ever get to know him. I first met him while he had just finished doing some intervals on track with his training group last week. He explained to me that we could not conduct the interview then as they were not yet over with their training for they still had to go for a cool down, but gave me his cell phone numbers and promised to let me know the right time that I could meet him when he became free.
He is a man who keeps his word.
True to that, I called him a few days later and he gave me an appointment to visit him at his training camp near Kaptagat forest. The interview was great as he was very supportive.
Eliud Kipchoge (in blue), with his training group,
photo by Justin Lagat
Not only did I enjoy my time with the legend, but also had some adventure of discovering the cool environment where he trains and stays while preparing for major competitions. Living next to a forest, there are bound to be a lot of funny stories that happen there every day.
For example, as I boarded a public vehicle to come back to Eldoret, one man in the vehicle pointed out at some bushes nearby and exclaimed, “That is where the dogs were being eaten!”
Everyone in the vehicle scampered towards the window to see. It was a story that appeared to be familiar with almost everyone in the vehicle. It was about a hairy giant that was surrounded a few months ago by the villagers and found roasting meat with dog heads littering around a temporary shelter that the man-like creature was living in. The police had been called and efforts to make the giant explain itself proved futile. The villagers could just destroy the shelter and the giant was left to vacate. At least that is what I heard in the vehicle.
I look forward to visiting some more training camps here in Kenya in the next days to find out on how other athletes are also getting ready for their upcoming races and see their training environments.