(06-Dec) -- Last week the Boston Athletic Association announced that Eliud Kipchoge would run the Boston Marathon next April, the first-ever Boston start for Kipchoge, the world record holder and double Olympic Marathon champion. Indeed, the race will be only his second marathon in the Americas.
PHOTO: Eliud Kipchoge winning the 2022 BMW Berlin Marathon in a world record 2:01:09 (photo courtesy of NN Running Team)
Yesterday, Kipchoge took questions from reporters about his goals for Boston, the world's oldest marathon, and his answers kept coming back to the same theme: he wants to become part of Boston's rich history as a race winner.
"I'm happy to be in Boston; it is the oldest marathon," said Kipchoge via video conference. He continued: "It means actually a lot to come to Boston, win Boston, go home and celebrate actually the winning (of) Boston."
Kipchoge, 38, said that he had no plans to do any races between now and Boston so he could focus completely on his training under coach Patrick Sang of the NN Running Team.
"I don't have any road races," he said. "I want to put all my mind, all my energy, to train towards Boston."
He also said that he would not change his training because of Boston's notorious hills and the lack of pacemakers who have played such a crucial role in Kipchoge's success at "speed" marathons like Berlin where he set the world record twice, most recently last September (2:01:09).
"I will not change my training; I trust my training, actually," said Kipchoge, who almost seemed puzzled by a reporter's question about adapting his training to the Boston course. He added: "It's good to experience it (the Boston course), actually. I've been doing mostly the flat courses in Europe, and why not? Why not run in Boston and experience another chapter of running up and down?"
The Boston course record of 2:03:02 was set by Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai in 2011, a magical year when the winds blew steadily from the west and gently pushed the runners from Hopkinton to Boston. That mark is one of the world's great marathon records, but Kipchoge said he wasn't focused on it. He said that the only thing that mattered to him in Boston was winning. He wants to win all six commercial marathons of the Abbott World Marathon Majors before he retires, and he still needs to win Boston and New York.
"My plan is not to run a course record or anything else," Kipchoge explained. "But my plan is I want to see myself winning. If I win with a course record I will be happy. If I win with a good time, I'll be happy. If I win with any time I'll be able to really be in history books as winner. The whole thing is I want to win."
Boston Marathon elite athlete coordinator Mary Kate Shea has recruited a top-notch field which was partially revealed when Kipchoge's participation was announced. Kipchoge will face the 2022 and 2021 winners, Kenyans Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto, as well as 2013 and 2013 winner, Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa. Kipchoge said he respected those runners, and that he would be ready.
"I know the race will not be easy," he said. "It will be the hardest race ever. I am happy for them to be there. The most prepared man will take the day on 17 of April. So, I have no worry."
When asked about the spate of positive doping tests coming out of Kenya --including the 2019 Boston men's champion Lawrence Cherono and the 2021 women's champion Diana Kipyokei-- Kipchoge did not dodge the issue.
"It's unfortunate that Kenya is still on the red list," he said. He continued: "I always encourage our sports men and women to live an honest life. Respect sport in general and compete in a fair way. That's what I always say."
While Kipchoge said he had no plans to visit Boston prior to coming to the USA in April, he did say that he would be thinking about the race continuously until then. He understands how important the race is in New England's largest city.
"I'm really looking forward to this whole and rich marathon culture," he said. "I just can't wait for this four months to pass."