When Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world record in the marathon last week, clocking a phenomenal 2:01:39 (shaving more than a minute off the previous world record set four years ago by Dennis Kimett) at the Berlin Marathon, he pretty much cinched the title as the greatest marathoner of all time—maybe even the greatest distance runner of all time. As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that Kipchoge’s 5K splits were nearly dead-even throughout the whole 26.2 miles, hitting around 14:24 each split. Oh, and his average pace for the marathon was 4:38 per mile.
If you have any doubts that he is the greatest distance runner of all time, and if you’ve ever wondered if a great miler can make a great marathoner, just look at his record. As a teen, Kipchoge won the U20 race at the World Cross Country Championships and went on from there to greatness. Here’s a guy who’s gone 3:50 for the mile, an astonishing 12:46 for the 5K, and 26:49 for the 10K. And let’s not forget his 2:00:25* marathon in 2017 at the Nike Breaking2 project on the Monza Formula 1 racetrack near Milan, Italy. *It was paced by a lead car and supporting runners joining in stages).
Read those numbers again, and then ask yourself if a great middle-distance runner can go on to be a great marathoner. There can be no doubt, the answer is yes.
It would be easy to say, “awesome, wow, what a fast time,” but what Kipchoge—who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics did—resonates much deeper than that. In shattering the world marathon record, Kipchoge redefined what humans are capable of. It’s downright inspiring and astonishing from a purely physiological standpoint. Kipchoge’s feat underscored the pure cardiovascular strength and running efficiency that the human body is capable of. The combination of speed and endurance displayed by Kipchoge in Berlin is simply unparalleled in human history. Consider the fact that the lower the world record gets, the harder it is to break. Typically, new records become incremental—a few seconds here and there. But Kipchoge lowered the world marathon record by 78 seconds—more than any man in the last 41 years.
Whether you are a high school cross-country runner, a weekend road racer, or even if you don’t run at all, it’s hard not to be inspired by Kipchoge’s amazing accomplishment.
Perhaps it comes down to one thing: belief. And no one believed it more than Kipchoge himself.
“I feel that I have a potential inside my heart that I can go beyond human limitation,” he said.
Upcoming Races: Saturday, September 29 at 8:30 a.m. DC Super Hero Fun Run 5K at Coves of Cimarron Park, 412 Treetop Way in Buda. Also Saturday, September 29, Race for the Stars 5K. 7:30 a.m. at Fuentes Elementary School, 901 Philomena Drive in Kyle.