You maybe surprised to know this, but Eliud Kipchoge has never run in Boston. That is not all: he himself candidly admits that he does not know the route. In a few days he will finally be able to run on the streets of the oldest marathon – The Marathon, with both initials capitalized.
How is it possible that someone who has won 15 of the 17 majors he has participated in has never run Boston? It is possible, evidently, and because of a curious set of circumstances: when it seemed the time was right, the Covid got in the way and in 2021 Boston was held in October-instead of, as per tradition, on Patriots’ Day in April-a too short time after the Olympics.
In short, this is the good year, although one should not necessarily expect a new record from him or think it will be easy, no matter how much he may make it look like it will be. After all, you can be fooled by someone who runs smiling even though he is going like a superfast train.
Boston.com has compiled the five things you absolutely must know about this outstanding participation. Here they are.
1. Who are we talking about
It is worth remembering who Eliud Kipchoge is. Without fear of exaggeration, we are talking about the greatest living marathon runner and one of the greatest and strongest in history.
We have already mentioned the 15 victories out of 17 appearances in the world’s most important marathons (London and Berlin in particular won them four times each), to which must be added the two Olympic gold medals in Rio and Tokyo, but if the victories and their number were not enough to be impressive, the records are also there. Starting with the world’s, set in Berlin in 2022 in 2 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds. Impossible not to mention another absurd record as well, namely that over the marathon distance (not in a marathon) set in Vienna in 2019 in one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds, thus becoming the first man in history to go down the 42,195 meters under two hours, albeit assisted by an ad hoc course and the help of pacers.
Another curiosity about Berlin gives an idea of how fast he was: after crossing the finish line, he had time to thank his coach Patrick Sang, pose for photos and celebrate wrapped in the Kenyan flag before the runner-up arrived–a full 4 minutes and 49 seconds behind him.
2. Project Eagle
As you can imagine, an athlete of his level does not enroll in Boston; Boston is looking for him. Having top athletes is a prerogative of any race, and the organizers of the world’s oldest marathon have been trying to have it for so many years that the operation even has a name, “Project Eagle” indeed. Where Eagle stands for-well, you probably figured it out.
After all, Boston is the only one of the majors (which are Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York)-along with New York-that he missed.
But you should not think that one city is worth the other, and if you are familiar with the times set in the different routes, you will have noticed that they vary greatly. Berlin for example is the fastest since it is run on level ground and has a course that facilitates speed (not coincidentally the world record was set there) while Boston is made difficult by frequent level changes and unpredictable weather.
3. However it goes, it will not be record
Or at least it will not be officially. In fact, the results achieved in Boston are not homologous by World Athletics because of the course and elevation gain.
Kipchoge, who can still set the course record, however, will have to beat Geoffrey Mutai’s remarkable 2:03:02, set in 2011.
4. Meanwhile, he has been training
In case you want to imitate him, this is his typical training load:
- 215 kilometers per week
- distribution of work according to an 80/20 ratio, where 20 stands for 20% intense and fast work and 80 for lighter (but still very prolonged in time) running
- Every two weeks at least one quasi-marathon (about 40 km).
In the meantime, he trains every day except one recovery day and sleeps 10 hours a day, including a two-hour afternoon nap.
5. What awaits him. But mostly who is waiting for him in Boston
There will be not only Boston waiting for him but mostly very tough and very strong contenders, starting with Evans Chebet-who won just in Boston and New York last year-Gabriel Geay, Benson Kipruto (winner in 2021) and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa.
Since Mutai’s record in 2011, no one has ever managed to go under 2:5 minutes. Boston is the oldest and most glorious marathon in the world, and rightly so because of the numbers and difficulty. And in a few days Eliud Kipchoge will challenge them, one by one.