April 14, 2024

Will Kipchoge make it two from two in Tokyo?

Will Kipchoge make it two from two in Tokyo?
Kipchoge

Approaching the 2024 Tokyo Marathon, which marks the commencement of the World Marathon Majors, Kipchoge's focus inevitably narrows to the 42.195km miles that lie ahead on the streets of the Japanese

This weekend, Eliud Kipchoge stands poised at the starting line of another marathon, his presence pregnant with anticipation for the next chapter in his storied career.

Approaching the 2024 Tokyo Marathon, which marks the commencement of the World Marathon Majors, Kipchoge's focus inevitably narrows to the 42.195km miles that lie ahead on the streets of the Japanese capital. With a remarkable record of 11 victories out of 14 WMM races he's contested, Kipchoge strides ahead, a titan in Majors history. Yet, as he gears up to notch another triumph in Tokyo, his mind may fleetingly drift towards the summer ahead.

Opting to kick-start his year in Tokyo, where he has ample time to recuperate and gear up for an unprecedented bid at clinching three consecutive Olympic marathon golds, Kipchoge sets his sights on an extraordinary feat. No athlete has ever secured more than two medals in the Olympic marathon, with only Abebe Bikila, Waldemar Cierpinski, and Kipchoge himself achieving the elusive double gold in the distance.

By electing Tokyo over familiar grounds like London, where he boasts four titles, or Boston, where setbacks marred his 2023 campaign, the 39-year-old affords himself a strategic window of just over five months to prepare for the monumental challenge awaiting him in France.

For nearly a decade, the mantle of a living legend has rested squarely upon Kipchoge's shoulders, ever since his inaugural triumph on a Majors podium in Chicago. His pursuit of a sub-two-hour marathon has been relentless, culminating in a historic achievement under controlled conditions in Vienna in 2019. Additionally, Kipchoge shattered the world record in Berlin in 2018, becoming the first man to break the 2:02 barrier in a certified marathon. Though he reclaimed the record four years later, his compatriot Kelvin Kiptum's stunning performance in Chicago last year underscored the transient nature of athletic greatness.

The untimely passing of Kiptum has cast a shadow over the sport, robbing fans of the anticipated showdown at the Olympics and tempering expectations for an imminent sub-two-hour performance. The events of fall 2023 seemed to signal a passing of the torch, with Kipchoge reclaiming victory in Berlin without threatening his own record, only to witness Kiptum's record-breaking feat just weeks later.

While the pursuit of time remains integral to Kipchoge's ambitions, particularly after setting a course record in Tokyo in 2022, his primary objective now is to assert his dominance in this race, laying a solid foundation for his Paris campaign.