Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Track and field
Home / Sports / Track and field

Kipchoge taking crisis in his stride

China Daily | Updated: 2020-04-02 09:20
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder, celebrates as he successfully completes his attempt to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna, Austria, Oct 12, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

Marathon great vows to be ready for Olympics despite virus disruption

NAIROBI-Eliud Kipchoge, the world's greatest marathon man, reckoned his first reaction was shock when he heard that the 2020 Olympic Games had been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That shock soon gave way to disappointment-but then defiance.

"We will win this fight against COVID-19," the barrier-breaking Kenyan, who's widely considered the world's finest long-distance runner, told Reuters.

And the man who last year became the first to run a marathon in under two hours confirmed he can see himself refreshed and ready to defend his marathon title at the rearranged Tokyo Olympics next year.

For the moment, though, the 35-year-old insists his only concern is to care for his family at their home in Eldoret, Kenya.

"I am totally concentrating on my safety, I am totally concentrating on the safety of the whole family," he said.

"The virus has really hit us in a hard way. That's why you need to focus."

Kipchoge explained he had been relaxing at home when he heard of the Tokyo postponement.

"I was a little shocked and I had to go back, just to think more. I think and then I said, 'it's not a bad idea to actually postpone'.

"You know the Olympic Games is whereby everybody wants to participate ... it's in the dreams of every sportsman in this world."

Kipchoge thinks a delayed Olympics could actually benefit his title defense.

"It's a great time for us to go back, train again and we will come back with a lot of energy," he said.

The pandemic has led to the postponement or cancellation of sporting events around the world, including the London Marathon, which next month was scheduled to be Kipchoge's first outing since October's landmark 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40 seconds run in Vienna.

Even though the run in Austria did not count as a world record because of the special conditions, the feat captured the world's imagination and brought Kipchoge a whole new level of fame.

London had promised the mouthwatering prospect of a head-to-head with Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the only other sub-2.02 marathoner, but Kipchoge said he was yet to think too far ahead about competing in the rescheduled race on Oct 4.

Running alone

By Wednesday, Kenya counted only 59 coronavirus cases, including one fatality, with the country having imposed restrictive measures to arrest the spread of the disease.

The lockdown even affects the East African nations brilliant runners, so Kipchoge misses the camaraderie of training with his teammates and hanging out with them afterwards.

"It's hard to run alone. When you have people around, the pace is OK, you just talk when you are running. You enjoy the run," said Kipchoge, who hopes to resume serious training by May.

Asked whether the Olympics could be his last race, Kipchoge said it was too early to say.

"I am seeing myself still running again in 2021," he said. "Let the year ahead come first, we will make a big decision after the year ends."

In the meantime, Kipchoge has enjoyed spending time with his wife Grace and their three kids, reading, visiting his farm and respecting government instructions about staying home as much as possible.

"Have some steps to run on, just let us keep fit. Read some newspapers, be with the family, watch good movies together," is his message to other athletes.

"Together within a couple of months to come, this COVID-19 will go away.

"My priority number one is to get the virus away, come back with one mind, one thinking, one line of actually standing and competing."


Most Popular


What's Hot
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349