World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge says he’s aiming to achieve something special at the London Marathon in April.
Kipchoge, who is also expected to lead the Kenyan marathon team to the Tokyo Olympics where he will be defending the title he won at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, won the London Marathon last year in a new course record time of two hours, two minutes and 37 seconds in what was the second fastest marathon time ever, at the time, after his world record 2:01:39.
Athletics Kenya selectors are, any time now, expected to announce Kenya’s men’s and women’s marathon teams to the Olympics where the marathon and race walk competitions will be held in Sapporo, Hokkaido, due to the extremely high temperatures expected in Tokyo.
“I don’t only want to win, but to achieve… You can define what ‘achieve’ means on your own,” the legend said on his London Marathon plans, without elaborating.
But considering his course record last year, then the 35-year-old star could indeed be up to something special at the April 26 London Marathon.
Who knows? Perhaps ‘achieve’ means shattering his own world record of 2:01:39 which he set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
Kipchoge has, meanwhile, also laughed off claims that Nike’s talk-of-town racing shoe gives distance runners an added advantage.
Media reports on Wednesday speculated that the now famous Nike Zoom Vaporfly racing shoe could be banned for giving runners “undue advantage.”
Kipchoge wore the shoe in Vienna last October when he became the first man to run the marathon in under two hours.
The Olympic champion clocked one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds to beat the iconic two-hour barrier at a race against the clock organised by British petrochemicals firm Ineos.
A day later, his compatriot Brigid Kosgei shattered Briton Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s world record, running 2:14:04 at the Chicago Marathon.
“The contentious issue is the foam and carbon-fibre composition of the sole, which acts like a spring to help runners get the most forward push from each stride,” British newspaper, ‘The Daily Mail’, reported on Wednesday.
“A technical body looking into the Nike shoes are set to deliver their findings at the end of this month,” the newspaper added.
But speaking at his Global Sports Communication/NN Running team training camp in Kaptagat on Tuesday, Kipchoge said records are broken by individuals, not footwear.
“It’s the person who is running, and not the shoes,” said Kipchoge.
“It is (Lewis) Hamilton who does the driving and not Pirelli Tyres,” he added, drawing parallels with Formula One racing.
“In Formula One, (tyre company) Pirelli issues tyres to all Formula One cars, but Mercedes are the best, why?” He posed.
“It is the engine. It’s the driver.
“Those who are against the Nike shoe should know that it is the person who is running, and not the shoe.
“It is Hamilton who is driving, not Pirelli!
“The (Nike) shoes are fair and it (success) is because I train hard!
“Get those recreational runners, give them the shoes and set them the time. If they get that time, then know there’s no fairness.”
But the distance running legend said it was important to have checks and balances even as running technology evolves.
“Controls have to be there because fairness is good,” Kipchoge said.
“Regulation has to be there for equality and for people to feel they are competing in a fair way. Fairness is good.
“But technology is growing and you can’t deny that!”
Kipchoge also used the Nike Zooms when breaking the world record in Berlin in 2018.
Speaking on the eve of last year’s World Championships in Doha, World Athletics President Seb Coe said while innovation in athletics offered interesting prospects, controls in the development of footwear was essential.
A team from Nike’s global headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, is expected in Kaptagat next week.
However, it’s still unclear whether or not the visit is to launch the development of a new running shoe for Eliud to use at the London Marathon and at the Olympics.
Kipchoge is usually involved in the development of his own running and training footwear in consultation with Nike’s research and development division at Beaverton.