Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge repeats as Olympic men’s marathon champion

It was a good year for Kenyan runners in Rio de Janeiro over the last couple weeks. Eliud Kipchoge brought home his second straight gold in the marathon, while Vivian Cheruiyot became the first female African-American to win the women’s race in the Olympics (as opposed to the expatriate Americans).

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the men’s marathon at the Rio Olympics on Sunday, earning his country a record fifth straight gold medal at the world’s most prestigious track and field event. Kipchoge, who had already won three marathons in London, Berlin and Chicago, edged out compatriot Martin Lel and Bahrain’s Mohammed Ahmed to take the top spot at the Olympic Stadium with a time of 2:08:55, more than a minute faster than the time he needed to clinch his gold in Rio four years ago. He shattered the world record, which was previously held by compatriot Dennis Kimetto, by nearly 16 seconds.

The 35-year-old Kenyan, who had won both of his previous marathons, broke the course record time of 2:04:39 to win the London event in a time that was five seconds faster than the second place finisher.

At the Tokyo Olympics, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge surged away late and no one came close to catching him as he defended his marathon title.

On a windy and humid Sunday in Sapporo, Kipchoge completed the race in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds. It was more than 80 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi won bronze to bring the track and field section of the Tokyo Olympics to a conclusion.

Kipchoge, 36, is the oldest man to win the men’s marathon in the Olympics since Carlos Lopes, who did it in 1984 at the age of 37.

This was a true running clinic. Along the way, Kipchoge grinned and even fist-bumped a competitor. Kipchoge joins Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980) as the third man to win multiple gold medals in the men’s marathon.

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya won the Olympic marathon in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 38 seconds, running over 80 seconds ahead of Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands, who finished second. Lintao Zhang/Getty Images photo

Kipchoge pulled off at the 30-kilometer mark, wearing white and pink Nikes, and never looked back. Well, there was a time when I was nearing the end. There wasn’t a soul in sight.

Kipchoge sailed through the clouds on a cloudy day. The temperature started off about 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) and rose to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) towards the end (29). After the women’s race was moved forward an hour the day before to escape the heat, the men’s event remained at the same time.

However, the runners encountered 81 percent humidity when they passed through Sapporo, approximately 500 miles (830 kilometers) north of Tokyo. The event was rescheduled to avoid the heat, but it was approximately the same temperature in Tokyo — and it was raining.

A total of 106 racers took the starting line. The number of people who finished the race was much lower, with more than two dozen people dropping out. Galen Rupp, the highest American, finished seventh.

Runners were greeted by real supporters who clapped and cheered them on. One fan even brought drums, which helped to create a more typical vibe. Because of coronavirus regulations, spectators were not permitted in the stadiums during the Tokyo Olympics.

Kipchoge, the reigning champion from Rio de Janeiro and the world record holder, put up a dominating performance in front of the crowd (2:01:39). In October of this year, he made history by being the first person to run a marathon in under two hours. However, since the time was not set under racing circumstances, it did not qualify as a world record.

Kipchoge joined Kip Keino and Vivian Cheruiyot as the only Kenyans to win four Olympic medals on the men’s side, and Kip Keino and Vivian Cheruiyot on the women’s side.

Kipchoge has silver (’08) and bronze (’04) in the 5,000 meters to go along with his marathon golds.

To prepare for this event, Kipchoge carefully trained at altitude. “It’s not magic science. It’s not rocket science, to be at the top for a long time,” he added.

Instead, he credits his success to his “systems,” which include teammates who can push him and a coach who can educate him.

“I have what it takes for me to remain for a long time,” he added.

This may or may not be his last major race. When questioned about it lately, he was evasive.

Kipchoge replied, “You’ll still see me around.”

This article was written with the help of the Associated Press.

The world’s fastest marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge, has won his second marathon gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games. Kipchoge, who had already won the Berlin Marathon earlier in the year, won the Rio race in a world-record time of 2 hours 9 minutes 42 seconds, as well as an Olympic gold medal for runners from Kenya.. Read more about when will the olympics be and let us know what you think.

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