After expressing an interest in competing in and winning all six World Marathon Majors races, the marathon record holder went a step further by committing to compete in Tokyo for the first time in his illustrious career, having already won three major races in Chicago, London, and Berlin, leaving only Tokyo, New York, and Boston to conquer.
Surprisingly, despite his 20-year international career, this will be only his third visit to Japan. Besides last year’s glorious Olympic gold medal victory on the streets of Sapporo that saw him go down in the history books as only the third man to successfully defend his Olympic title, Kipchoge’s only other competitive outing in the country came at the 2007 World Championships in Sapporo when he claimed 5000m silver behind Bernard Lagat.
Despite the rarity, the No Human Is Limited mental warrior has exuded confidence in his preparation and stated the reason as to why he loves Tokyo. In addition, Kipchoge, who will face far cooler conditions than the brutal heat and humidity he had to contend with at the Olympic Games, reiterated that the anticipated difference has not hampered his usual routine.
“It will be different to the Olympic Games because it will be colder but it has not changed my training. I am preparing like I am for any other race, and I think I am on the right track,” the legend is quoted on NN running team’s website.
Tokyo, he’s here. 🇯🇵 pic.twitter.com/4uSmyNRJv2
— NN Running Team (@NNRunningTeam) February 28, 2022
“The attraction of running Tokyo was huge. I like how disciplined the Japanese people are but also how courteous they are and how they treat outsiders with respect. They also have a great love of sport, particularly running.”
In Japan, Kipchoge will go up against a star-studded list in his quest. His training partners and NN Running Team-mates Jonathan Korir and Laban Korir will compete alongside him.
With the likes of Ethiopian Birhanu Legese – the third-fastest marathon runner in history and two-time former Tokyo Marathon winner –, Mosinet Geremew, the fifth-fastest marathon runner in history, and World Championship medallists Amos Kipruto and Tamirat Tola also competing, Eliud acknowledges the size of the task he faces.
“I am really excited to face them and test my training. I think it will be a good race, a beautiful race and I’m looking for a good time that will make people happy,” he says.
In addition to Eliud, additional members of the NN Running Team will compete in Tokyo. Laban Korir and Jonathan Korir will give it their all to put on a fantastic show. Noah Kipkemboi and Philemon Kacheran will also be pacing.