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Eliud Kipchoge

Princess of Asturias Award for Sports 2023

Born in Nandi County (Kenya) on 5th November 1984, Eliud Kipchoge completely dominates the marathon event at present and is considered a legend of world athletics, as well as the greatest marathon runner of all time. In recent years, he has managed to win sixteen of the nineteen marathon races in which he has competed and has stood atop the highest podium eleven times in four of the so-called World Marathon Majors: Chicago (2014), London (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019), Berlin (2015, 2017, 2018, 2022 y 2023) and Tokyo (2022). He is a member of the NN Running Team from the Netherlands.

Nicknamed The Philosopher for his strategic racing prowess and ability to focus, Kipchoge is the current Olympic marathon champion. He has held the world record for this event, set at 2022 Berlin Marathon, until October 2023. With a time of 2:01:09, he cut thirty seconds off the previous record, which he himself had set in this competition in 2018. He is the only athlete in history to have run a marathon in under two hours, a feat he achieved in Vienna in 2019. There, he completed the 42.195 kilometres of the race in a time of 1:59:40. However, this record is not officially listed because the race was organized precisely in order to achieve the feat and counted on external aid. The Kenyan ran behind a vehicle that set the pace and covered the distance surrounded by seven “rabbits” (pacesetters) placed in an arrow formation to protect him from the wind, in addition to wearing special shoes from the commercial brand that organized the event and which, according to the experts, favoured his performance. Although he has defended his achievement, the International Athletics Federation banned the use of those shoes in official competitions in 2020.

Kipchoge began his sporting career with success as a long-distance runner. After being proclaimed world champion in the 5000 metres in 2003, he won a bronze medal for the same distance at the 2004 Athens Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After an injury kept him from the London Olympics in 2012, he decided to switch from track to road running. He won the 2016 London Marathon –where he set a new record– and reached the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games as the absolute king of this event. There, he commandingly added his first Olympic gold medal to his list of accomplishments, which was completed with a new triumph at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, held in 2021 due to the postponement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to those mentioned above, Kipchoge’s numerous achievements also include winning the U20 Cross Country World Championship (Lausanne, Switzerland 2003), a gold medal in the 5000-metre event of the 2010 Diamond League and four first places, three in 5000 metres and one in 3000 metres, in the Golden League (2004, 2005 and 2008, and 2004, respectively). According to analysts, Kipchoge has become a media star who, thanks to his charisma and performance, has garnered much greater public attention for the star event of long-distance athletics than it ever had before he appeared on the scene.

A Laureus World Sports Foundation Ambassador, Eliud Kipchoge has been named Athlete of the Year by World Athletics on two occasions (2018 and 2019) and was one of the ten finalists for the year 2021. In 2021, he also created the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, whose aim is to facilitate access to early childhood education and environmental protection.

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