Kenya: Six Things to Know About Eluid Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge (in white singlet) runs flanked by pacesetters during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019.
10 October 2019

Having consistently triumphed over all and sundry on the marathon course in the recent past, Eluid Kipchoge has now elected to race against time.

On Saturday, the Olympic marathon champion and world record holder will attempt to become the first man to run 42-km in under two hours in the much-hyped INEOS 1:59 Challenge.

And as Kipchoge attempts to beat the clock in Vienna, Austria, his fans worldwide will be holding their breathes in anticipation of history in the making.

But who is Kipchoge?

1. No relation to the great Kipchoge Keino - Contrary to speculation, the 34-year-old is not the son of the legendary Kenyan athletic great Kipchoge Keino. He hails from Nandi County, an area with arguably the most successful athletes in the world. The last born in a family of four was raised by a single-mother. He is married with three children, although he prefers not to talk much about his family.

2. Started out at a young age - Kipchoge picked up interest in athletics while in high school after meeting his trainer Patrick Sang while aged 16. In a past interview, Kipchoge said he developed interest in athletics because 'everybody was doing it'. He was also convinced that the proceeds would make him fend for his family.

3. Unbeatable in marathon - Kipchoge has been a professional athlete for the past 18 years. He first competed in the Junior cross country in Ireland in 2002 and finished first. He went on to dominate at the 5000m race before switching to marathon and has gone on to win in nine major marathons including in Berlin, Chicago and London. He's also set the world record over the distance.

4. Winning, earnings and endorsements - Kipchoge is reported to have earned about half a billion shillings from winning and competing in major races in his career. But he is worth much more. He also boasts numerous endorsements including with footwear Nike. In Kenya he is the brand ambassador of Safaricom and Isuzu, the latter deal being worth Sh14 million.

5. Date with destiny - Just days after Ethiopian rival Kenenisa Bekele fell two seconds short of breaking his record time, Kipchoge has now partnered with INEOS to try and beat his own marathon record. The race is set for Saturday morning in Viena. Dubbed the 'IENOS 1:59 Challenge' and bankrolled by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe who runs chemical firm INEOS, Kipchoge will be competing in Vienna on Saturday against time.

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