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Eliud Kipchoge: The Worlds Greatest Marathoner Interview

By: Preston Johnson

Article originally featured in Run Utah Magazine Summer/Fall Edition 2018.  Click HERE to download Full PDF version of the Magazine.

Utah Running: First off, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. We are beyond excited to hear from you. This interview is going to be a part of UtahRunning.com’s Summer Edition Run Utah Magazine. The theme of this magazine is “The Complete Runner: Training Your Body and Mind for Total Running Fitness”. After writing the outline for the magazine and deciding I wanted to write a mind over body article you were the first runner that came to mind. I believe lots of people have this perspective of you being the epitome of being mentally strong in competition and training.

The first instance that comes to mind of your mental strength is the Nike Sub 2-hour attempt. Attempting something that for years had been this elusive goal for the entire marathoning community yet had been seen as an almost impossible task. You went in with so much confidence and really changed the worlds perspective on if a sub-2 hour marathon was even possible. Can you talk to us a little bit about your approach to this event? Did you approach this event any different than you do a typical world marathon major? If so can you elaborate on some of those differences?


Eliud Kipchoge: Thank you once again, remember to every human being it was impossible, I approached differently in that, it took all my time for seven good months, I changed my thoughts and tell my conscience that, I am going through, be it in any circumstance.

For a normal marathon, it’s just running to win, but for breaking 2, it was about running against the unthinkable, that’s a big difference.

Utah Running: During the Nike Sub 2-hour attempt, we all watched in amazement as you came within seconds of making a sub 2 hour marathon a reality.  Could you describe the experience from your perspective? What were some of your thoughts throughout the experience and after you finished and the results had settled in?

Eliud Kipchoge: Many things were running in my mind, one of the thoughts was telling me, will you really finish? Which time will you run? I tried to concentrate and I was inside the splits, After the crossing the finishing line, I realized I run just 25 seconds outside our target. all in all I was truly happy to have made history.

From that day no human has limitation.


Utah Running: It is very evident that while you are racing you are very concentrated on the task at hand, part of that includes keeping a positive outlook and erasing negative thoughts. What are some of the things you tell yourself as you begin to reach the point in the race where negative thoughts start to creep into your mind?

Eliud Kipchoge: I always motivate myself and I totally try to run within the required time, when negative thoughts arises, I tell myself I trained well during the preparation.

Utah Running: I think a large portion of being mentally tough includes what motivates you. Having some kind of extrinsic or intrinsic motivation gives every athlete a reason why they are training. What motivates you to compete year in and year out at the level you have been over the last few years?


Eliud Kipchoge: What motivates me year in, year out, is the love for the sport and the legacy I want to leave to the present and next generation.

Utah Running: Often times this motivation is dependent on what we expect of ourselves, so that when your career comes to an end you can look back and say that you have no regrets, there is nothing I could have done to better my career. What do you view that as? Is there a particular goal or benchmark that you have set for yourself that you will define your career by?

Eliud Kipchoge: Having regrets is the sin of indiscipline, I always stress the word ’No human has limitation‘, that’s what I will leave to all human beings, be it sport lovers or not.

Utah Running: At the marathon distance you have only lost one race, a race that saw Wilson Kipsang set a world record. In your mind what sets you apart from all your competitors?


Eliud Kipchoge: It’s my professionalism which sets me apart.

Utah Running: Being physically ready for an event can have a huge impact on one’s mental strength due to the fact that you can draw confidence from the hard work that you have put into preparing for a race. Is there some kind of bench-mark workout that you do before a race to measure your fitness? If so can you tell us a little bit about that workout and what you hope to see in yourself and your results of that workout?


Eliud Kipchoge: I don’t measure my fitness at all, I am gauging myself on how good I am feeling in every workout.


Utah Running: After reaching out to our audience and asking what they would ask the world’s best marathoner if they had the chance, there seemed to be a general consensus that they wanted to know what a typical day in your life is like. Can you talk us through what a typical day for you is like?


Eliud Kipchoge: My typical day is like doing my normal run at 6 in the morning about 18km. Afterwards we enjoy some chai (Kenyan tea) and bread before taking some rest. During the day I rest, have massage and at 4 pm I go for the evening run which is about 10km. On Tuesdays we have a track session in the morning, on Thursday the long run (one week 30km, the other week 40km) and on Saturday it’s fartlek. I stay for 6 days a week in the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat where I live with my teammates. On Sundays I stay with my family.


Utah Running: If you were to give any additional advice to other aspiring marathoners what would that be?

Eliud Kipchoge: My advice is to train and try to finish the distance, If they are first starters and for the normal marathons, to respect their trainings  and never compromise on anything, which can hinder their workout.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2018 at 10:05 am and is filed under Expert Answers, Interviews, Marathon/Half Marathon, Marathon/Half Marathon, Run Utah Magazine, Summer/Fall 2018. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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