Athletics: Discipline, focus help Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge remain injury-free

In a photo from April 29, 2019, London Marathon elite men's winner Eliud Kipchoge poses with the trophy.
In a photo from April 29, 2019, London Marathon elite men's winner Eliud Kipchoge poses with the trophy.PHOTO: REUTERS

NAIROBI (XINHUA) - Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has remained injury-free for almost a decade, a move his physiotherapist Peter Nduhio puts down to discipline.

The 34-year-old, who claimed an Olympic bronze medal in Athens in 2004, silver in Beijing in 2008 and gold in Rio four years ago, says injury played a part in his decision to ditch track competitions for the marathon.

In the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics, Kipchoge was solely focused on winning a place in the national team to compete in the 5,000m event. However, a hamstring problem denied him the chance as he finished seventh in the explosive Kenyan trials.

"I was angry with myself," Kipchoge said of the trials. "I had done everything right, but in the build-up, I had an injury. I lacked the speed to secure a slot in the team."

It was then that his coach Patrick Sang advised him to switch to the marathon, and he has had no regrets or major injuries since.

His physiotherapist credits his routine, hard work and discipline for the unprecedented success he has had, which has seen him win 11 of his 12 marathons since he switched to the road in 2013, losing only once to compatriot Wilson Kipsang.

"Eliud makes it easy for me to work on him. If he feels an issue, he will come to me straight away after a run before even going back to his room and we can nip it in the bud. This body that we have, if you treat it well it will treat you well. If you mishandle it, then it will misbehave," said Nduhio.

On Tuesday (April 21), Kipchoge said he was happy he took the decision to turn to the marathon.

"On this day in 2013, I ran the very first marathon of my life. The memories of my debut in Hamburg are actually really good, I won this marathon in 2:05:30. It has been a beautiful journey so far," he said.


Kipchoge is adamant he will never have his head turned. "I don't have extra money to actually make my mind go haywire," he says.

"I am a human being and I stay as a human being. Money stays away. I'm not working with money; money is in the bank. I want to live a simple life."

Kipchoge was due to compete in the London Marathon on Sunday (April 26), where he was to make an assault on his world record of 2:01:39, and try to become the first man to run the distance in under two hours in an official event.

With that event having been cancelled, Kipchoge now turns his attentions to defending his Olympic marathon title, as the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc with the sporting calendar.