Kipchoge ready for Hamburg
With only two weeks to go until the highly anticipated NN Mission Hamburg Marathon, world record holder Eliud Kipchoge is optimistic the race will herald a better season.
Kipchoge is targeting the one-off marathon before his defence of the Olympic marathon title in Tokyo in August.
After suffering his first marathon defeat in seven years at the London Marathon last year, Kipchoge insists he is in “great mental and physical shape” and is looking forward to competing on the streets of Hamburg.
“My number one goal is to run a beautiful race in Hamburg. We are in a situation where a lot of us have been down but I feel we are now in a transition towards a brighter future,” Kipchoge said.
“A beautiful race will give people hope. It is another step that we are on the right track to normality.
“The race is really important. It is great that Global Sports Communication, NN and Hamburg have put their minds together to organise this.
It is a hugely positive thing for the fans to see that life continues outside of this pandemic.”
Kipchoge’s appearance in Hamburg represents “a back to the future” moment in his incomparable career because it was in the northern German city in April 2013 when he began his marathon career following a stellar track career.
On that occasion he claimed the first of his 11 marathon career victories, stopping the clock in an impressive 2:05:30, to announce his arrival as a star of the future over the 42.2km distance.
In 2019, Eliud Kipchoge became the first athlete in history to run a sub-two-hour marathon at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
On 12 October 2019 in Vienna, the Kenyan made history by running a full marathon in an incredible 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
“Hamburg has a lot of memories for me, it was my first exposure to the marathon and I remember thinking I didn’t know what would happen at 25km, 30km, 35km and 40km.
That memory of ‘will I hit the wall’ is still there. It was the beginning of my life in the marathon” he recalled.
“Winning there gave me confidence that I could run the marathon and it played a big role in my career.
Now I’m running Hamburg again in a very different situation. We have very few races globally and it is a good opportunity to test myself, run well and offer hope to the world.”
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Kipchoge admits his life has been “very hard.” Forced for several months to stay within his compound because of restrictions on movement implemented by the Kenya government to control the virus.
“It was really hard to go training and not mix with people to fight the virus,” he says.
“Life has been hard but that is the way of the world – we need to get through it but I think we are on the right track to a brighter future.”