The Boston Marathon in 2023 will have Eliud Kipchoge in town. Mr. Kipchoge, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has won WMM in Chicago, London, Berlin, and Tokyo. Boston is his fifth WMM, and he has made it clear that he wants wins at six WMM races. Justin Lagat provides some ideas on how Eliud will run in Boston; what do you think?
In most of his past marathon races, it has been exciting and thrilling to watch Eliud Kipchoge fixing himself just at the heels of three or more pacemakers as other runners get dropped out of the leading packs in fast-paced marathon races.
During the 2018 Berlin Marathon, he was the only one remaining in the leading pack with three pacesetters after the first 1km mark was crossed in 2 minutes and 43 seconds. At 14km, one pacemaker dropped out, and the remaining two tried to clear a path for Eliud Kipchoge to pass them on his way to running a new world record of 2:01:39. Kipchoge encouraged the two remaining pace setters to still stay close together in front of him. But, it took a short time before another one dropped out before reaching 16km.
One does not run a 2:02 marathon or better without focused training, Eliud Kipchoge in a hard session, photo by NN Running team.
Only one pacemaker, Josphat Boit, managed to provide some company to Kipchoge past the race’s halfway point.
While lowering the same world record from 2:01:39 to 2:01:09 on the same course last year, only two other runners went with him and the pacemakers past the 3km point. He ran almost the entire last half of the race alone and finished it more than five minutes ahead of his next competitor.
Pacemakers also played a significant role in Kipchoge’s Ineos 1:59 challenge, where he ran 1:59:40 for the marathon distance with the help of rotational pacemakers.
Eliud Kipchoge will run Boston in April 2023; photo from still by NN Running team.
Unlike in the other four World Marathon majors he has already won and set course records in three, the two remaining marathons for Kipchoge, the Boston and the New York City Marathons, do not enlist the services of pacemakers in their races.
Will Kipchoge stay patient behind and use the other elite runners in the race as his pacemakers, or will he break away and run alone within the first few kilometers of the race? Will the fact that there will be no pacemakers affect his ambition to go for a new course record?
Eliud Kipchoge training, in Kenya, photo by NN Running team
With or without pacemakers’ services, Kipchoge has repeatedly proven he is the most excellent marathon runner ever.
However, the slowest times for Kipchoge have often been when he ran without the services of pacemakers. Some of these times were when he won the 2016 Rio and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic (ran in 2021) Marathon titles in 2:08:38 and 2:08:44, respectively.