Kenyan athlete and two-time Olympic marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge on Thursday was honored with the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports, to which twenty-four candidates from eleven countries aspired.
Born on November 5, 1984, in Nandi county, Kenya, Kipchoge won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and also won the silver in the 5,000-meter event in Beijing 2008 and the bronze in Athens 2004.
Kipchoge has two medals in World Championships -gold in 2003 and silver in 2007- and a bronze in the World Indoor Championships in 2006; he won ten victories in big marathons and in 2002 he set a new marathon world record with a record of 2 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds.
The jury of the 2023 Princess of Asturias Award for Sports valued the figure of the Kenyan athlete as “a benchmark in world athletics” and “best marathon runner of all time”. The jury chaired by swimmer Teresa Perales, unanimously decided to award the two-time Olympic champion and holder of the world record for the event, set at 2:01:09, who has been reminded that he is the “only man in history that has managed to lose two hours in the 42,195 kilometers ”.
Eliud Kipchoge brings together a brilliant track record that includes the marathon gold medal at the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the world record in this specialty and victories in eight of the most important world marathons (Marathon Majors), including London, Chicago, Tokyo and Berlin.
According to some of his friends, his mental strength comes from his childhood. His mother, a teacher, raised him single-handedly because she was widowed when Eliud was very young. He was the youngest of four brothers. She encouraged his love for the sport because she saw that he was happy running.
Considered the greatest marathon runner in history, he began his athletic career over shorter distances, as part of the Kenyan national junior team that won the 2002 Dublin Cross Country Championships.
He obtained his first great sporting triumph at the World Athletics Championships held in Paris in 2003, narrowly defeating the legendary Moroccan athlete Hicham El Guerrouj in the 5,000 meters. Specializing in that distance, Kipchoge later won a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
He also won a silver medal at the 2007 world championships. He won his first marathon a year later in Hamburg with a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 30 seconds. It was the first of a series of victories in this distance that took place in the most important marathons in the world such as Berlin (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022), Chicago (2014) and London (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019). At the same time, he set himself the goal of running the 42.195 kilometers of one of the most legendary events in world athletics in less than two hours.
October 12, 2019 in Vienna was very significant. The mark of 1:59:40 destroyed one of the most legendary barriers of human resistance and opened the doors to the sporting Olympus together with great long-distance runners in history, such as Emil Zatopek, Abebe Bikila, Haile Gebrselassie and Henry Rono. However, the record was not declared official, as it did not meet the conditions of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF).
On September 25, 2022, Kipchoge broke the world record in Berlin and left it at 2:01:09, 30 seconds less than his previous record, getting closer and closer to the mythical barrier of two hours in an approved race.