1. Eliud Kipchoge
One can almost expect a World Record (WR) each time Eliud Kipchoge hits the road. That’s how much of an enigma the Kenyan long distance runner has become, and so it’s no surprise that he’s widely regarded as the greatest marathon runner of all time, especially having run four of the six fastest marathons in history. And that’s why Kipchoge remains No.1 on our Top African Male Athlete of the Year list for the second time!
Since recording his first victory at a World Marathon Major at the Chicago Marathon in 2014, the two-time Olympic GOLD medallist has gone on to become series champion a record five times: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022. The 2019 World Best Male Athlete of the Year also set a WR of 2:01.39 enroute his 2018 victory at the Berlin marathon, which was a 78s improvement over the existing best, the greatest improvement in a marathon WR time since 1967.
Kipchoge has won the London Marathon a record four times, and also shares the record for most Berlin Marathon wins with four, tied with Haile Gebrselassie. He dominated the Tokyo Marathon in 2021 and 2022, and with 15 victories out of his 17 marathons, Kipchoge’s only losses have been a 2nd-place finish behind Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich at the 2013 Berlin Marathon and an 8th-place finish at the 2020 London Marathon.
HISTORY IS MADE! 🤯
For so long, so many thought it was impossible, but @EliudKipchoge becomes the first human to run a sub two-hour marathon.
#INEOS159 #NoHumanIsLimited pic.twitter.com/ONL9jyPR0n
— INEOS 1:59 Challenge (@INEOS159) October 12, 2019
In 2019 in Vienna, the 38-year-old attempted to break the two hour barrier. It was tagged the INEOS 1:59 challenge, sponsored by INEOS, a privately owned UK multinational chemicals company. The attempt was successful as he became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours, though his time of 1:59:40 was not recognized as a record because he ran on a controlled course with 41 professional pacesetters.
Just like 2019 and 2021, the marathon legend competed in only two races in 2022. He started out by smashing the course record in Tokyo in March barely seven months after his Olympic triumph at the same venue, breasting the tape in a time of 2:02:40. He then lined up in Berlin for the fifth time in his glittering career and then bested the WR he had set on the same course four years ago by 30s, replacing it with a superior time of 2:01:09 to be confirmed winner of the World Marathon Majors series for a record fifth time.
His performance in 2022 earned him a nomination for World Best Male Athlete of the Year where he was named a finalist. Kipchoge has continued to push the boundaries and is the first runner to win four Abbott World Marathon Majors. He has further declared his wish to become the first able bodied athlete to win all six Abbott World Marathon Majors.
He said in a statement: “I am happy to announce in April I will compete in the Boston Marathon, a new chapter in my Abbott World Marathon Majors journey. Good luck to all the runners running Boston in 2023.”
As far as the Kenyan is concerned, impossible is nothing!