This week, the World Athletics announced that one of the greatest marathon runners of all time, Eliud Kipchoge, will join the U20 Athlete Refugee Team (ART) next year as a mentor. The question is, will Kipchoge become one of those ‘great athletes turned terrible mentors’ or will he defy the stereotype?
Here, we will try to navigate through Kipchoge’s career and prove that he may be the perfect mentor.
Kipchoge’s lengthy career
Being well-versed in the sport is one of the most fundamental requirements for a mentor. And Kipchoge undoubtedly possesses this. His pro-career goes as far back as 2002, having competed in the 5000-meter events in various international competitions. It wasn’t until 2012 when the Kenyan native dipped into the marathon scene. He took baby steps by running the half-marathons first, and then transitioned into the longer and more grueling distance of 42.195 kilometers the following year.
At the 2013 Hamburg Marathon, Kipchoge made his marathon debut with a fantastic showing that included a course record of 2:05:30 and first place. Since then, Kipchoge has aced the discipline of road running, taking first place in multiple marathons, including those held in Boston, Chicago, Rotterdam, London, Berlin, Tokyo, and Chicago. His personal best of 2:01:09 was recorded last year at the Berlin Marathon.
With his impeccable record, Kipchoge may be able to impart his ‘winning mentality’ to the refugee athletes and inspire them to become future champions.
Like all great athletes, Kipchoge has faced a lot of challenges and losses in his life. His greatest failure occurred most recently at the Boston Marathon on April 17, where he ran the slowest time of his life (2:09:23) and placed sixth overall. Although he was disappointed by the outcome, Kipchoge bravely announced that he would ‘bounce back’ in his next race.
True to his word, on September 24, Kipchoge won the Berlin Marathon for the fifth time with a record of 2:02:42.
In between these two marathons, though, Kipchoge exhibited values of resilience and self-awareness. In one of his interviews, the Kenyan native detailed where he might have gone wrong, pointing out an upper-leg issue and his mindset as the main causes. Instead of blaming external factors, he saw himself as the central reason why he lost, which is a hard thing to do.
Possessing these qualities, in addition to his perspectives as a champion and a loser, are vital in his future role as a mentor.
Cover Photo: IG