When I first set out to write this post I intended it to be a breakdown of Kipchoge’s phenomenal London marathon win; each split analysed, his average pace scrutinised, why he may have gained a second here or lost one there. One for the ‘running nerds’ out there. (You know who you are, in fact, Garmin Connect is most probably loaded up in the tab next to this one).
On second thoughts, I have decided that that approach is just not me. Having ditched my own Garmin back in 2016 after I attended the Running with the Kenyans camp with The Kenya Experience, instead preferring the Kenyan approach of ‘running by how your body feels’, I now don’t find much inspiration in a whole load of numbers. Not that a 2:04:17 marathon is not inspirational. On the contrary, I believe that this an astonishing achievement, and one that is more deserving of simply breaking down the numbers. So, I have decided to write this article as more of a tribute to the man himself.
He has been regarded as one of the greatest marathon runners of all time, and I will fully back that statement. Despite being 100% born and bred British, I cannot help myself rooting for Kipchoge to take that number one spot. Don’t get me wrong, I admire Mo Farah and I am very much inspired by him. But there is something about Kipchoge that has completely captured me.
Perhaps it is because I have been lucky enough to meet this hugely talented yet extraordinarily humble man at his Kenyan training camp, and I am honoured to have done so. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. Having just run up all 13 miles of Fluorspar Hill (an iconic location in Kenyan runners training), Godfrey (our Kenya Experience guide) announces that we will be stopping in at the Global Running Camp in Kaptagat on the way back to Iten. ‘Eliud will be there’ he casually drops in. What?! Surely, we can’t just wander in to an elite athlete training camp? But with Godfrey alongside us wander in we did. Dishevelled, sweaty, and feeling slightly delirious from the 13 miles uphill we had just completed (yes I will say it again, 13 miles UPHILL!!) The Kenya Experience team entered the Global Sports camp.
This is the temporary home and training camp of many talented elite athletes, such as Viola Jelagat, Laban Korir and Geoffrey Kamworor, to name a few. For me however, it was meeting Kipchoge that has remained a special memory of that day. I think it was his incredibly humble nature that really stood out for me. Here was an athlete who is arguably the richest and most successful Kenyan athlete of all time, yet someone who was clueless about the likes of Kenyan running would have had no idea. Taking the Kenyan way of life of ‘run, eat, sleep’ very literally, the athletes all live and train together to minimise distractions from training. Until the athletes get to race day there is no competition, each runner helps the other out in order to reach their full potential. And this approach sure is working.
Since that special day, I have followed Kipchoge and his exceptional achievements, including his near impossible attempt at breaking the 2-hour marathon. He has been an incredibly inspirational figure to me throughout my own ups and downs that running brings. I am not only grateful to Kipchoge, but also to The Kenya Experience for providing me with that fantastic opportunity (even if they did make me run up a very big hill first).
I am going to end this piece with words spoken from the hero himself, and if you take anything away from this article let it be this:
‘My message is that no human is limited’.
About the author:
Alice Reed is a runner from the UK. She attended our 2016 Running with the Kenyans camp and has been fascinated by Kenyan runners ever since. Alice runs all distances from 1500 to Half Marathon where she has a personal best of 1hr 22.
The Kenya Experience – Running Camps in Iten Kenya for all runners
Our running camps provide an inspirational location, expert coaching and a supportive group environment for runners of all levels.
With an emphasis on ‘doing it the Kenyan way’ the camps include guided runs, practical workshops and an exciting itinerary outside of the actual training itself which will immerse you inside the Kenyan running scene. You will meet and learn from top Kenyan runners & coaches and interact with the local community in Iten under the guidance of our expert staff.
Want to know more? Click here for details on our training camps