The Human Spirit
On a Dark Day, Kipchoge Still Shines
The 127th Boston Marathon was supposed to be the coronation of Eliud Kipchoge.
The world record holder, the first man under 2:00 – the greatest distance runner of all time (DM me if you want to debate this) – finally made it out to Boston instead of chasing a fast time in London. On his quest to win all six majors, he was all teed up to go Boston, NYC and then Paris.
And then he finished sixth in 2:09:23.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I do believe that whether or not Kipchoge wins all six majors he will still be a global inspiration.”
For the first 18 miles it felt like the Kipchoge show, a pack of 11 hitting halfway in 62:19 with Kipchoge front and centre. Everyone was clearly keying off of him, watching his every move, letting him run how he wanted. He crushed a 4:23 16th mile to break the pack down to seven – the move was coming.
Then mile 19, a hard move by Geay up the hills, and Kipchoge was dropped. The impossible had happened: the greatest of all time was done.
As a massive Kipchoge fan I was shook; I’d fully expected to see him pass me at mile 19.5, imposing his will on his competitors and, instead, I saw a man in isolated defeat.
Who knows if it was the hills, the weather, something wrong in training or even time catching up on the 38-year-old.
What I do know is that, as Kipchoge passed me, he was still head down, pouring himself into the course. Focused, determined. Onward he drove, knowing he was defeated. Up the hills, through Boston College, past the Citgo Sign. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston.
Kipchoge went into Boston with the intention of winning, and it didn’t happen. Like many others, the course didn’t give him the day he’d dreamed of, and that’s OK. This man who convinced us he was superhuman turned out to be mortal after all.
But instead of stepping off or giving up, he persevered.
He had a choice, and he chose to keep going.
The most amazing thing Kipchoge has done lies in how he’s made the marathon predictable, but in Boston Kipchoge reminded us that we have the ability to choose how to respond when things don’t go our way.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do believe that whether or not Kipchoge wins all six majors he will still be a global inspiration. Yes, because he’s the GOAT, but mostly because he’s been willing to chase crazy dreams.
My buddy texted me after the race: “Eliud Kipchoge IS limited”, and honestly, yeah. He’s got limits; that’s kinda sick to realise.
He puts his goals out there, he wears them on his sleeve, and then he goes for them. He’s achieved them the vast majority of the time, and while his official record is now 17 out of 20 (don’t quote me on that), there is beauty in falling short in Boston.
He’s human after all.
And hey, maybe he’ll use this as fuel for NYC.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – it’s the lessons.” — Eliud Kipchoge