Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has challenged his fellow athletes and the corporate world to break the boundaries and engage each other for mutual benefit.
Speaking yesterday in Nairobi, Kipchoge said that while winning races is a good for athletes, runners should market themselves beyond the track. Kipchoge said it is prudent for athletes to engage professionals for advice on how to go about marketing themselves.
Kipchoge, who is planning an assault on the world marathon record time of 2 hours, two minutes and 57 seconds in Berlin on September 24, challenged the corporate world to come out and talk to the athletes, and advise them on how to market them.
Kipchoge blamed lack of knowledge on failure by Kenyan athletes to use their world conquering status to benefit more through partnerships with the corporate world.
Kipchoge, the 2005 World 5,000m champion, was speaking yesterday in Nairobi where he signed a one-year partnership deal worth Sh7 million with Isuzu East Africa.
"Winning and getting paid well is not enough. I have realised that we can benefit more if we strike partnerships with multinationals in Kenya," Kipchoge said.
"This is a mutual venture where these companies also benefit by using us as their ambassadors. We sell our inspiring stories more through this."
"It's a high time we athletes went out to market ourselves and made more money outside the competition tracks. We need to talk to professionals to succeed where we can't. One just can be blessed in everything," said Kipchoge, who affirmed his intentions of breaking the world record.
Kipchoge boasts of personal best 2:03:05 from his victory at the 2016 London Marathon. It will be Kipchoge's third appearance in Berlin, having finished second in 2:04:05 before winning in 2015 in 2:04:00.
The deal brings Kipchoge on board as Isuzu EA ambassador. On Wednesday, he received a brand new Isuzu Dmax Double Cabin car for his training and personal use. Isuzu East Africa will service the vehicle for him. In a second package for Kipchoge, Isuzu EA Chief Financial Officer, Charles Kariuki said the company would give Kipchoge a similar car worth Sh5.9 million as a gift if he breaks the world record in Berlin.
Kariuki urged other companies to appreciate what Kenyan sportsmen and women have done by engaging them in more of such partnership deals.
He said they picked on Kipchoge since over the years, the athlete has demonstrated strength, resilience and reliability in his performance, which resonates well with their Isuzu range of products.
"We trust Kipchoge will break the world record," said Kariuki noting that sports is one of the greatest Kenyan heritage.
Isuzu EA has also has partnership with Kenya Rugby Union to provide transport to rugby national teams besides being the sponsors of Muhuri Muchiri Secondary School who are the regional rugby champions.