Eliud Kipchoge, world’s greatest marathoner and a name that has pretty much been the talk of many Kenyans and the world at large for the past one week but before we dive into what has caused so much excitement about this name it is important to understand who exactly this man Eliud Kipchoge is.
Who is Eliud Kipchoge?Eliud Kipchoge is a 34 year old Kenyan long distance runner, current Olympic marathon gold medalist having won the 2016 Rio Olympic marathon, 3 time Olympic gold medalist and recently crowned the greatest marathoner of all time, having been the first man to run a marathon in under 2 hours, 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds to be precise, breaking the 2 hour mark by just 20 seconds and that’s all it took to make history.
The INEOS 1:59 challengeThe challenge on Saturday 12th October, dubbed the INEOS 1:59 challenge, sponsored by INEOS one of the world’s largest chemical producing firms, INEOS founder Jim Ratcliffe had this to say after Kipchoge accepted the challenge on May 6 “Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest marathoner and the only athlete in the world who has any chance of beating the 2 hour time”. This was going to be the second time that the athlete was going to attempt to break the two hour mark, he had attempted to do so in Nike’s breaking 2 challenge in Monza, Italy two years ago but he went past the two hour mark by only 25 seconds finishing the race at 2:00:25.
“No human is limited,’’ Kipchoge said after finishing the race in Vienna on Saturday 12th October under the two hour barrier and having broken his own previous achievement of 2:00:25, for the world this was history made and the impossible made possible, in Nairobi the experience was way more than anything anyone could have possibly imagined with the audience being comparable to that of the world cup, it was a moment that saw the whole of Nairobi come to a standstill, everyone’s fingers crossed as the marathoner ran his last 200 meters, can he do it? Was the question we all asked as we watched the clock slowly approaching the 2 hour mark, and he did it, the nation expected that from him and he knew it, he delivered nothing less than the expected. #no human is limited became the top social media hashtag for the greater part of Saturday and Sunday in Nairobi.
Free internetThanks to Kipchoge, Kenyans got to enjoy some free 1.5GB data provided by the country’s largest telecommunication service provider, Safaricom. Safaricom provided free data to all its customers so that no one would have miss out on the race, never had such a thing happened in Nairobi and Kenya as a whole. Though the race began quite early and knowing just how late Nairobians wake up on a Saturday, the number of people who woke up to follow the race was beyond expected. In the athlete’s home town, Eldoret, the local government had set up a number screens around the town so that members of the public could watch the race. It also took many Kenyans by surprise to learn that the race was going to be aired live on all national TV channels, again this was also new, marathons have never been aired live on all national TV channels.
What exactly did this win mean for Eliud Kipchoge?The win not only made the athlete jet back into the country a billionaire, it also earned him international attention and recognition from top leaders. Former US president Barack Obama on his twitter account commented “marathoner Eliud Kipchoge became the first marathoner to break the two hours barrier. He is an example of humanity’s ability to endure, keep raising the bar.”
Early this week the runner thanked Obama on his twitter account for the congratulatory message and asked to meet the former president, he said he would like to meet and discuss how to make this world a running world, as a running world is a peaceful world, well we are yet to find out if they’ll be meeting to discuss that.