Kenyan star Eliud Kipchoge aims to inspire after Delhi Half Marathon victory
On his last visit to Delhi, Eliud Kipchoge went home with a silver medal in the 5000m event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. But he was not to be denied next time around as he clinched first place in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday with an impressive timing of 00:59:44. The Kenyan missed the course record by a few seconds but will surely be pleased with his performance nonetheless.
A three-time Olympic medalist, Kipchoge took the gold medal in a competitive and tight race. He is the third-fastest marathon runner ever and was the clear favourite before the race, showing his class towards the end and easing past his rivals in the last three kilometres to win by a four-second margin.
The Kenyan was the gold medalist in the marathon at the Rio Olympics in August and this event in Delhi was his first competitive appearance post-Rio. He stated that the transition was not easy at all and credited his coach for planning his schedule and training regime in the right manner.
He was full of praise for the event and its organization, saying that the conditions were great for running and that he was able to perform to the best of his abilities. Despite falling short of his personal best, he stated that he was happy with his performance in Delhi.
Finishing in second and third place respectively were Yigrem Demelash of Ethiopia and Augustine Choge of Kenya, who is also Kipchoge’s training partner. Demelash, who won silver despite being injured, said that it was an honour to run with a man of Kipchoge’s stature. Similarly, Choge was also full of praise for his compatriot – referring to him as his role model and mentor.
Kipchoge also stated that his biggest hope after the race was to motivate people, especially youngsters, to pick up their shoes and run everyday. “With this win, I hope to inspire a whole generation in the country to start running,” said the Kenyan in the press conference.
The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon saw over 34,000 people from all walks of life and age groups take part in a variety of events. Kipchoge said that he was astonished to see such a large number of people get together to run and that he found their enthusiasm truly heartening.
“It was a pleasant surprise to see so many people come together for the joy of running. I hope the number doubles next year and we see even more people running on the roads of Delhi,” he said with a beaming smile!