Eliud Kipchoge once again lit the streets of Berlin, Germany, with another reign in the men’s 42KM marathon. Kipchoge, considered the king of marathons, was in action in Berlin for the sixth time, an event he had already won four times before stepping out again yesterday.
No Human Is LimitedEliud Kipchoge
Before that, Kipchoge had snubbed many similar events in other cities to prepare for Berlin, a city he calls his “special place.” In Berlin, he had two significant targets; he wanted to win the marathon for a fifth time and smash his 02:01:09 world record set in Berlin last year.
Sunday was indeed a special day for Kipchoge, considering his previous success in Berlin. Clocking a sensational 2:01:09 in 2022 to break his world record by 30 seconds was commendable. It explains why Kipchoge holds Berlin close to his heart.
However, the preparations for Sunday didn’t only happen in Berlin. Back home, a lot happened in Eldoret, the City of Champions. Being Kipchoge’s hometown, the residents were gearing up for the event just like their star, Eliud, and the organisers in Germany.
At the Eldoret-Iten and Uganda road junction in Eldoret CBD is an iconic screen erected by the side of the road. The massive screen used to run advertisements and generate the county revenues had a different purpose, just like it does every time marathons happen.
The junction within the CBD was a beehive of activity on Sunday morning. A sound system was installed, and seats were arranged in readiness for the arrival of dignitaries and members of the public. By 10 AM, everyone was seated, waiting for the event’s start.
Among the dignitaries present were the county leadership led by H.E Jonathan Bii Chelilim, the Governor of Uasin Gishu County. Also seated beside Governor Jonathan Bii was the Federal Republic of Germany Ambassador to Kenya, Sebastian Groth.
At 10:15 AM, all eyes were on the screen to witness history unfold. Kenya’s Nation Media Group provided the event’s live stream from the streets of Berlin, Germany. This became a lifesaver for residents who were in town and couldn’t watch it from home.
The marathon kicked off on time, with Eliud Kipchoge taking an early lead as expected. His closest challenger dropped out at 32 KM, leaving Kipchoge to race against time. Besides, the pacesetters also pulled out after Eliud told them they could leave him alone.
Kipchoge ran the remaining 12 KM, although at a much lower pace. The chasing pack led by Vincent Kipkemboi maintained its pace but couldn’t catch up with Kipchoge. Ultimately, Eliud cut the tape at 2 hrs 02 min 42 sec, sending the crowd in Berlin into celebration.
Back home, the hundreds gathered at the Eldoret watch party broke into song and dance. The crowd celebrated their hero who has been christened “Greatest of All Time” (GOAT) in marathons. You’d tell that Kipchoge’s latest victory inspired those in the crowd.
However, the win in the men’s race wasn’t replicated in the women’s. Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa smashed the world record set by Brigid Kosgei in Chicago in 2019. Assefa showed great strength throughout the race as she kept her competitors chasing.
In the women’s race, Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui clocked 2:17:29 and came in second. Fans in Berlin and those in the Eldoret Town watch party cheered her and other Kenyan ladies in the race. Thanks to Eliud’s triumph in the men’s race, a podium finish was enough.
In his remarks after the race, Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii congratulated Kipchoge and his fellow athletes. He said the win again showed North Rift is the source of excellent sports personnel. Governor Bii further reiterated his commitment to support sports.
Ambassador Sebastian Groth also congratulated the athletes who took part in the event. He hinted that the event came at a time when Kenya and Germany were celebrating 60 years of friendship. Groth also stated that he looks forward to the next phase of this friendship.
Isuzu East Africa, one of Eliud Kipchoge’s main partners, was elated by his victory. Other partners who came to the watch party included NCBA Bank, Safaricom, Anti-doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK), and EKA hotel. Every attendee indeed made the watch party worthwhile.