Olympics marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge never fails to amaze and to be honest, he is operating at a different wavelength.
Perhaps it will take time for the world to see another focused and much disciplined runner like Kipchoge. The confidence he displayed even when everyone thought he was under threat from a battalion of Ethiopians at the London Marathon last Sunday was just out of this world.
He could even afford a smile when the three Ethiopians were still hanging dangerously on his coat and contrary to everyone’s expectations, he shook them off like a plague and took his rightful place in front.
At the end of it all, the time was just amazing – 2 hours, two minutes and 37 seconds – the second-fastest marathon time ever run on a record-eligible course and his fourth London Marathon title. Besides he was only 59 seconds shy of his world record (2:01:39), which he set in Berlin last year.
Kipchoge is no doubt the one of the greatest marathoners’ in the modern era, having won an astonishing 11 of the 12 marathon races he has started. His only loss came at the hands of compatriot Wilson Kipsang in the 2013 Berlin Marathon.
Kipchoge’s would-be main challenger Briton Mo Farah lost the fight before he started following a row with double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie.
Personally, I found the exchange very petty considering it was something that could have been sorted out by the two gentlemen without washing their dirty linen in public. Farah in the end placed fifth in 2:05:39. Congratulations Kipchoge!
While Kipchoge was favourite to win, Brigid Kosgei shocked us all by becoming the youngest runner at the age of 25 to win the women’s race. The focus had been on defending London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot and three-time winner Mary Keitany.
There was little mention of Kosgei despite her having won the Chicago Marathon last year. This was Brigid’s biggest win of her career thus far, crossing the finish line in a personal best of 2:18.20 ahead of Vivian Cheruiyot (2:20:14) and 21-year-old Ethiopian Roza Dereje, who finished third in 2:20:51.
Kosgei’s star has been rising and who knows where her next stop will be. She finished second in Chicago in 2017 in 2:20:22 and a year later, won the same marathon in 2:18:35. She also won the Honolulu Marathon in 2017. With London behind us, my worry is the World Championships in Doha and I am wondering just how many of those who took part in London will be willing to run at the global showpiece?
It actually doesn’t matter what position one finished but I would like to see some of the big names parade in Doha for the big show. I know the weather will be tricky but the organisers have put in place mechanisms that will ensure all are comfortable.
Some of our big runners have competed in Dubai and it is not very different. The only thing we need to do is to start preparations right now because the Doha event is only four months away and very close to September’s Berlin Marathon.
This means those who will run in Berlin will definitely not compete in Doha. Whatever happens, I would like to see Kenyan flag flying high beyond the Big Five Marathons. We have done it before at the World Championships and I would like to see it happen again.
Kosgei would especially boost her profile by competing at the World Championships.