Series26 Oct 2015

Personal bests – Eliud Kipchoge


Eliud Kipchoge wins the London Marathon (© Getty Images)

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has enjoyed a stellar year, winning both the Berlin and London marathons. Here the 2003 world 5000m champion offers his version on a few of the best aspects of his life. 

My best achievement

It was definitely becoming 5000m world champion at the age 19 at the 2003 Paris World Championships. I still remember the bit crowd chanting after I crossed the finish line, it was really loud. It came as a surprise to me to win gold because it was my first World Championships but above all I was up against two great competitors in Kenenisa Bekele and Hicham El Guerrouj. Victory in Paris changed my life. From that point on I was invited to all the big races for 10 or more years.

My best achievement outside athletics

It is being a family man with three children, two boys and one girl, and a wife and being able to mentor the young generation to love sport and to know sport can have a positive health benefit.

My greatest rival

It was the Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele. I raced him for 10 years and I beat him only once – in Paris 2003. In all my other races I had to play second best to him. He was a rival but he was always a very sporting rival.

The best piece of coaching advice

I have received several pieces of great coaching advice from my coach Patrick Sang, including: believe that I am the best competitor, that I should race and train against myself, learn to feel how my body responds and to fully concentrate. I apply these principles to every race. It helps create confidence.

The best track venue

I have always raced well in Doha with six victories in my nine races there. It is special because it is often the first race of my season and my form there tells me where I am at and if I need to make any adjustments for the rest of the season.

The best athlete I have ever seen

Haile Gebrselassie best symbolises how good planning and preparation can bring success. He is special for so many reasons. His mentality and the way he relates to sponsors, managers and other athletes. He is such a social and intelligent man. He is special because of his longevity in the sport but above all he is special because of his amazing achievements. 

My greatest disappointment

Missing out on a place on the Kenyan team for the London 2012 Olympic Games. I was truly prepared for the Olympic Trials in the 5000m but only managed to finish seventh. As selectors could only pick three athletes, I missed out.

My best ever race

My life in athletics was marked by victory in the 5000m at the 2003 World Championships in Paris.

The best pre-competition song

I like a Kenyan Afro-pop band called Sauti Sol and I love a song by them called Sura Yako. It has the best beats and helps concentrate my mind.

The best training route

Running the 40km Naiberi-Sergoit route in Kenya. I run this trail twice a month and I enjoy it because it comprises of flat, uphill and downhill sections.

Steve Landells for the IAAF