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Veteran Marathoner, Kipchoge, eyes 3rd Olympics Gold: Can he make history in Paris?



Acclaimed as the “Marathon King,” legendary athlete Eliud Kipchoge trains thoroughly on reddish dirt trails surrounded by eucalyptus trees in his native Kenya with one goal – to become the first athlete to win three consecutive Olympics in the upcoming Paris Games.

“I will try my best to achieve it,” Kipchoge told newsmen in an interview at the training center in Kaptagat, home to numerous champions and located in the heart of the Rift Valley in western Kenya.

Sitting on a green wooden bench, the long-distance runner confessed that at the age of 39, winning a third consecutive Olympic gold would be the “biggest challenge” of his career, following his victories in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

He is also the only human to have run the 42.195-kilometer (26.2 miles) race in less than two hours, although that was not officially valid given that it was done under artificially favorable circumstances, such as having a team of pace setters and a car that drove ahead of them showing current time and indicating ideal running positions, all of which also helped cut the wind resistance.

Before the interview, Kipchoge ran 30 km kilometers at an altitude of over 2,000 meters under light rain as a part of his training for the upcoming Paris Olympics in July-August.

Kipchoge also spoke of the absence of his countryman and fellow long-distance runner, Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a road accident earlier this year in February at the age of 24.

Kiptum, who holds the world record for marathon (2:00:35), was largely seen as the successor to Kipchoge.

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QUESTION: How are you feeling a few months away from the Olympics?

ANSWER: I’m feeling good. The training has started now. I trust this will continue over the next three months.

Q: Are you planning to take part in any high-level race before the Olympics?

A: Nothing in mind, just focused on Paris.

Q: Are you ready to make history by winning your third consecutive (Olympic) gold medal?

A: I’m really ready for it.

Q: Is it the biggest challenge with your career?

A: The biggest challenge, yes.

Q: How confident are you that you can achieve it?

A: I’m confident. I’ll try my best to achieve it. If I achieve it, then good. If I don’t achieve it, the world will know that I’ve been struggling, trying to achieve that.

Q: Some people say that running a marathon in the Olympics is a bit easier than running a commercial marathon. Do you see it in that way?

A: No, I think it’s really harder than the commercial marathon. Paris will be hard, you know, subject to the course. And it seems that the temperature will be high. You know, it will be tough. July-August will be terrible.

Q: Do you think you can break the two hour marathon mark in Paris?

A: No, I will try to win a gold medal, not run faster. The target is to win gold, make history.

Q: In 2024, you have only competed once. It was in Tokyo. You finished 10th. As far as I have read it was your worst result in a race. Did you learn any lessons in Tokyo that could be useful in Paris?

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A: The only lesson I learned is that, you know, sport actually is (like) life. Anything can happen and you must respect what has happened and move on. You can set a lot of goals but you can’t achieve all of them.

Q: With the tragic loss of Kelvin Kiptum, all eyes will be on you in Paris. Does it put extra pressure on you?

A: Not really. I’m sorry for him, he died young, at that age. But I’ll try my best and not compete with anybody. I’ll run my own race.

Q: The people saw him as your successor. Who do you see now as your successor in the athletics world?

A: I think we have a lot of athletes in Kenya. I can’t name who is who, but we have a lot of talented athletes. Locally they have achieved a lot. The world must go on.

Q: What do you think of the World Athletic decision to reward Olympic gold winners in Paris with $50,000?

A: I think it is a great thought, a good gesture by World Athletics. And it’s a sign of working together with the Olympic Committee (…) We are all a part of one sport.

Q: What is your opinion about the war between sneaker brands to make a sneaker that will make you run faster? Some of them cost like $500. Do you think you run faster with such technology?

A: You need to be physically fit to run fast, but these companies provide you with good shoes to train and run on the road. It’s the future. This is technology and you can’t stop technology.

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Q: You will turn 40 this November. Do you see yourself racing in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles?

A: It’s too far for me to think of the next four years but I think I’ll be there to inspire people and see how the next generation are competing.

Q: What do you have in mind for the future? Of life after athletics?

A: I want to go around the world to inspire the young people and the old generation about sport. That sport is life, that sport brings health, that sport can make the whole world peaceful.

Q: Have you thought about coaching athletes?

A: I have never thought about coaching, but I want to do more than coaching, to make the people run. EFE

Culled from Agencia EFE

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