Eliud Kipchoge: Why crowds make Berlin Marathon special

Friday, September 22nd, 2023 15:26 | By
Eliud Kipchoge poses with fans in Berlin. PHOTO/Reuters
Eliud Kipchoge poses with fans in Berlin. PHOTO/Reuters

Kenya's long-distance legendary runner Eliud Kipchoge has explained why the crowd makes the Berlin Marathon a special race for him.

Kipchoge will be racing in Germany's capital again on Sunday, September 24, 2023, amid expectations that he might set another world record.

Looking back, the 38-year-old has pointed out why competition has a special place in his heart.

Crowd factor

Ahead of the Sunday race, Kipchoge has cited the influence of the crowd, saying the fans add a special ingredient to the marathon.

“I remember all the people at the course cheering us on. It was a very special environment.

“The streets of Berlin, you know, will be packed, and you know when you hear the voices of the people, those are the people who are passionate about sport.

"Those are the real fans in Berlin, so those are the things that motivate me and what’s pushing me ahead," Kipchoge told World Athletics.

Coincidentally, his appearance at the Berlin Marathon will mark a full decade since Kipchoge first stood on the start line in Berlin. Then, he managed to finish second behind his compatriot, Wilson Kipsang.

Since finishing second on his debut, the Kenyan has made the race somewhat his own, as he has won four titles and broken world records twice.

Another important point that makes the 2013 Berlin Marathon special for Kipchoge is that it was his second-ever attempt at the marathon distance and the first and last time he has experienced defeat in Berlin.

Eliud Kipchoge wins the Berlin Marathon in 2018. PHOTO/World Athletics.
Eliud Kipchoge wins the Berlin Marathon in 2018. PHOTO/World Athletics.

Shoe challenge

He came back in 2015, and Kipchoge, an Olympic champion, faced a rather strange challenge: at around the 10km mark, Kipchoge’s insoles of his running shoes detached from under the soles of his feet, leaving his bare skin to rub painfully against the coarse. That led to bleeding and blisters, but he ended up finishing in 2:04:00.

“It was not easy. There are blisters on the left foot, and my big toe is cut with lots of blood," Kipchoge said after winning the race then.

Should he win on Sunday, Kipchoge would have secured a fifth victory in the Berlin Marathon.

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