- Residents say his name should be in the Guinness Book of World Records
- Despite being a great athlete famed internationally, Kipchoge remains humble
As athlete Kipchoge seeks a historic record in the INEOS 1:59 challenge in Vienna Austria, back home in the North Rift region, his name is on the lips of everyone ahead of the expected big day.
From his rural Kapsisiywa village in Nandi county to the streets of Eldoret and Iten, and from ordinary folk to the prominent in society, Kipchoge’s name reverberates across the hills in the region that is home to many great world beaters.
Kipchoge is however now rated the greatest of them all and residents here wish him success, describing the athlete as a rare human being whose name should be in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Many vehicles and buildings in the region have the INEOS Challenge stickers as everyone seeks to support and be associated with Kipchoge.
“Kipchoge has already done as proud, being the greatest marathoner of all time and we foresee God raising him even more in the INEOS Challenge,” said Ben Kimeli, who hails from Kipchoge’s home village in Nandi.
He said despite being a great athlete famed internationally, Kipchoge remains humble, a keen listener and highly respectful of everyone.
“That is why God raises him always and we pray that the same happens in Vienna,” Kimeli said.
Nandi Governor Stephen Sang says the county is greatly honoured as Kipchoge’s home and his immense success has brought joy and fame not only to the county but the country.
“I have encountered him several times and he truly believes in the motto that no human is limited and that with God’s guidance everything is possible,” Sang said.
The county leadership and many Kenyans will join villagers of Kapsisiywa to watch the INEOS Challenge race and cheer on Kipchoge and prepare for the greatest home coming in the region no matter the outcome of the race.
Sang’s administration will provide a giant TV screen for residents of Kapsisiywa to watch Kipchoge live and most residents have high expectations that he will set the record below two hours.
Hundreds of athletes from the region visited Kipchoge to wish him well as he trained for the challenge. Veteran athlete Kipchoge Keino was among those urging him on and anticipating success.
“I have watched him running and also as an ordinary person here at home and I believe he is a much focused athlete who can make it,” Kipchoge said.
Another veteran athlete, Moses Tanui, said Kipchoge was a very focused person whose humility and great spirit makes him a rare person who can succeed where many dare not try.
“As athletes, we wish him well and it will be a great honour to this country to see him achieve that record. It’s very possible,” Tanui said.
Nandi Deputy Governor Yulita Mitei said mothers in the country were proud of Kipchoge as a great son.
“Kipchoge is the best for the INEOS Challenge and he will make it because he has rare determination and fighting spirit that is backed by his equally rare character as a human being of humble always,” Mitei said.
Budding athlete Maryline Kwambai from Iten says Kipchoge has always been an inspiration to young athletes. She says he always advises athletes to be focused, disciplined and determined.
“We always see a father figure in Kipchoge and the few times I have met him he always tells me the secrets of success including being God fearing and respect for everyone I encounter. I'm proud of Kipchoge and his success at the INEOS Challenge will be success for Kenyans and all humanity,” Kwambai said.
A bank manager where Kipchoge is a client in Eldoret said he had never seen a great person, famed worldwide, but who always remains humble and seeks no recognition in society despite the greatness.
“We always get surprised to see Kipchoge queuing like any other person whenever he comes to the bank. He always insists on following the queue because he considers himself like any other customer. That is the greatness in him and no wonder he is going for greatest challenge in Vienna,” the bank manager said.
Governor Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu said the North Rift region was greatly honoured to have Kipchoge. He said Eliud Kipchoge was now brand name that markets the region and the country.
“He is a great son of this country and we are greatly indebted to him for the honour and fame he has brought us,” Mandago said.
He said Kipchoge was unique person who would make the challenge. Residents of Eldoret will watch the challenge on a giant screen erected in Eldoret town by Mandago’s administration.
The INEOS Challenge promises to bring not only Kapsisiywa village to a halt but the entire region and the country. Its Eliud Kipchoge’s name all over the place.