Ineos 1:59 Challenge was the name of probably the most famous unofficial world record: there, on 12 October 2019, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first person ever to run the marathon distance in under two hours. In the end, Kipchoge needed only 1:59:40 hours. Why the world record is "only" an unofficial one? Because Kipchoge had access to reinforcements at all times and had pacesetters by his side throughout until just before the finish. But Kipchoge also holds the official marathon world record: 2:01:39 hours he needed for the Berlin Marathon in 2018.
At 1.67 meters tall and weighing just 52 kilograms, the 36-year-old has the perfect cross-country runner's physique. Added to this is his controlled, minimalist running style with around 180 steps per minute. Kipchoge is constantly working on this with his coach Patrick Sang, who won silver for Kenya in the 3000 m steeplechase at the 1992 Olympic Games. Sang has been Kipchoge's coach since 2001. Kipchoge has written his motto in one of his notebooks: "Motivation + Discipline = Consistency".
Today Eliud Kipchoge is the epitome of the marathon world class. But he has spent most of his career running shorter distances: At the beginning of his career, the 5000 metres was his showpiece discipline. There he won bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and silver in Beijing in 2008. It was not until April 2013 that Kipchoge made his marathon debut. Since 2014, he has become a serial winner of the prestigious marathons in Chicago, Berlin and London. His greatest success: marathon gold at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Eliud Kipchoge is married to Grace Suggut from Kenya. Both knew each other from school, where Grace's brother was one of Kipchoge's best friends. The couple have three children and live in Eldoret, a city of 500,000 in Kenya. Grace Sugutt describes her husband's appearance back home this way, "He greets everyone and doesn't look like a person who thinks he is successful. He looks like a normal person."
Unlike many Western long-distance runners, Kipchoge, like most Kenyan runners, avoids nutritional supplements. Instead, according to the book "Eliud Kipchoge - History's fastest marathoner", his diet includes a lot of rice and the cereal porridge Ugali, which is popular in Kenya:
- A lot of rice as well as the popular cereal porridge in Kenya, Ugali
- Managu (an African crop similar to spinach)
- occasionally beef
- Drinks: lots of chai tea and water as well as milk.
The ingredients are almost all local and organic and mostly from surrounding Kenyan farms.
Six days a week there is only one thing for Eliud Kipchoge: training! Then he lives together with his training partners in a sparsely furnished camp about 25 kilometers from his home. During training Kipchoge has no airs and graces, shares small rooms with his teammates and takes on everyday tasks such as cooking for the team or cleaning the toilets. "Being separated from my kids is really hard because they want to see their daddy. But I stay at training camp because it reminds me to stay motivated. We share our ideas here and model to the younger ones that it is good to live together," Kipchoge said.
For 2020, Eliud Kipchoge's net income was estimated to be around three million dollars. The following brands are working with Kipchoge as sponsors or partners:
- IsuzuNN Group
- COROS Wearables (official GPS watch partner)