COP26

Eliud Kipchoge asks rich countries to work with Africa on climate change

In Summary

• The Olympic gold medalist explained that he started using data to monitor his glucose levels, heart rate and sleep as well as developed a shoe that would protect athletes from the hard impact on the ground.

• He called on western countries to share their data and innovation to help Africa deal with climate change.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with World Marathon Champion Eliud Kipchoge in Glasgow
President Uhuru Kenyatta with World Marathon Champion Eliud Kipchoge in Glasgow
Image: PSCU

World marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has used his sub-2-hour run in 2019 to call on rich countries to help Africa deal with the climate crisis.

Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) on Tuesday, Kipchoge called on Western countries to work with Africa to deal with climate change.

"Until a few years ago, I trained by listening to what my body was telling me and was successful and won almost every marathon I race in. But when I realised that I wanted to leave a legacy, I knew I needed to do more," the Kenyan runner said.

He added; "I collected the brightest minds around me to help add data and new technologies in my training so that I could become more efficient and run times that no human has run before me."

The Olympic gold medalist explained that he started using data to monitor his glucose levels, heart rate and sleep as well as developed a shoe that would protect athletes from the hard impact on the ground.

"But feeling has remained the key driver and I use data to confirm my feeling and make small adjustments to improve. And I became the first human to run the marathon under two hours," Kipchoge said.

The runner went on to explain that Kenya, which lies on the Equators has no seasons but has periods that are referred to as long rains and short rains.

"But the rains have not been there for a while now. They hardly bring any water and sometimes they flood our farm fields ruining all the crops,"  Kipchoge said.

He added that when he looks at the world currently, he sees the same metaphor as in his career.

"There are western countries who are so advanced in data and innovation but who have futile moves from that initial feeling for the climate whereby in Africa we feel so closely," Kipchoge said.

He added; "I urge all of us to bring our worlds together whereby we can combine our unique skills where we can stay connected with our feelings added to the strength of data and innovation."

Kipchoge was speaking during a session where more than 100 world leaders have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.

"We have to stop the devastating loss of our forests, these great, teeming eco-systems, three trillion pillared cathedrals of nature that are the lungs of our planet and the destruction together with agriculture and other change of land use that accounts for almost a quarter of all global emissions," UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

US President Joe Biden announced $9 billion of US funding through to 2030 "to conserve and restore our forests and mobilise billions more from our partners".

Edited by CM