Behind the fastest marathon runner on the planet

Source: NBC News

Meet Eliud Kipchoge, the only man on Earth who has run a marathon in under 2 hours.

Till now, whenever we’ve come across sports superstars, we naturally assume that they live in million-dollar mansions with sprawling lawns, the latest gear, and the most high-end versions of the trinkets they gave up in their childhood to focus on their training. From clothing lines, to collaborations with brands, to charities and foundations – sportspersons today are equivalent to pop stars and actors when it comes to wealth, fame and influence.

Eliud Kipchoge, however, is an exception.

He stays in Kaptagat, a small village in Kenya. During the week, he lives at the training facility, while on the weekends he’s at his family home with his wife and three kids – a short drive away from the facility. The training facility was started by Patrick Sang – Kipchoge’s coach and the one who got him into professional running – in 2002. The camp is home to Kipchoge, as well as Geoffrey Kamworor – the half-marathon world record holder – along with 30 odd others who aspire to be the next Kipchoge. The facility is minimal, seemingly like a student hostel that one sees in Europe to accommodate sparkly-eyed young adults fresh out of high school and college. Everything is basic – the food, the kitchen, the dining area, the living conditions. Clothes lie on the bushes to dry, while the athletes themselves clean the facility on specified cleaning days. Perhaps the only thing that seems lavish is the collection of $270 Nike Vaporfly shoes that lie around the campus.  

The training facility as well as the schedule is simple. One can’t help but think about The Oregon Project (now closed) and the drastic differences in both of these camps. Simplicity and minimalism is the key to their success, Kamworor and Kipchoge both feel. Living simply, away from distractions and their families helps them focus on their training.

Turning to Kipchoge, however, one notices his strict dedication to the time, and the even stricter distance he keeps from money and fame. He refuses to let himself be carried away like the other running greats who have emerged from Kenya and who have lost themselves to the glamour and the glitz. To relax, he spends time with his family and on his farm – going out by himself once a month on a bike to buy things he needs for his farm from a town 25 kilometers away.

The most remarkable thing that stands out to one is his humility. Being the only man in the world to have finished the marathon in less than 2 hours, one would have expected him to be living lavishly, but he is praised as the legend that is the most humble of them all.

In today’s social media driven world, where every sporting legend has the power to become a millionaire due to endorsement deals and social media presence, Kipchoge lives a strict lifestyle, always on time, sticking to simplicity and staying away from money to achieve the one goal he thinks is the most important – inspiring people to believe and follow his motto of “No human is limited.”

 Main source: 

Rajlakshmi Chavan

S.Y B.Sc. Economics

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