Interview with the marathon great after his incredible time of 2:01:39 in Berlin

Click here to read more about Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:39 marathon world record in Berlin.

How did you feel when you crossed the finish line? Did you surprise yourself?

I felt great, but I was surprised by running 2:01. I knew I would run a world record eventually, but not that fast.

You have run in Berlin before. How did the run this year compare to the run last year?

For years I’ve been enjoying racing in Berlin but last year was bad weather. This year was great weather.

Do you feel like you achieved your “crazy dreams” today?

Absolutely, yes. I expected to run a world record, but I didn’t expect the time of 2:01. I hoped to just be able to run under 2:02:57.

Was this the perfect race?

Yes, it was. I was alone on the last 17 kilometres, but I didn’t think at all about the fact that I was alone. I just thought that I have to keep up this pace until the very last kilometre.

When did you know during the race that you were going to break the world record?

I was sure I would be able to set up a new record after 30 kilometres.

At the end of a marathon, you see a lot of runners with pain in their faces. What do you do against this pain – or don’t you feel any at all?

Pain is everywhere when you run a marathon, but you have to try to keep these thoughts out of your mind and only concentrate on the race.

What is in your head during a race like this? How are you looking to push your limits?  

I don’t believe in limits. When I train, I try to listen to my body and challenge it to go beyond barriers when the moment is right.

How was the atmosphere along the course?

People were amazing. Without them cheering it would have been much harder at the end. Their support was music in my ears.

Is there anything that did not go so well?

Nothing, absolutely nothing. I am happy with the race, super happy with the result and that my plan worked out.

Do you think that you can run even better than this world record?

I think no human is limited. Everything is possible, and records are there to be broken.

The sub-two-hour barrier is still there. What do you think must happen so that this barrier can be broken in a regular/official street race?

It is no rocket science to break this barrier. You simply have to believe in it, you need a great team that believes in it and in you, you need the perfect shoes and you need to be stronger than any runner before. Then everything is possible.

You are running in a shoe that was developed with you. How much time do you think you could shave off because of it?

Actually, the shoe is for every runner out there, not only for me. I tested it and Nike took up my feedback. I contributed in making a shoe that is faster than any shoe before. But it is still the runner that needs to run fast.

What are the three characteristics a runner needs for running a marathon?

Steady and consistent training, passion and self-discipline. Self-discipline is about focusing and living a simple life.

What advice do you have for hobby runners who are training for their first marathon?

Of course, training is important. But more important is the passion you put in it. You have to strongly believe that you are able to make it and be able to run this distance. That’s the magic of a marathon.

Do you ever feel stressed or nervous before a race?  

Well, tension is there. If you don’t have tension then you have no chance at this, no chance in the race.

You have an Olympic gold medal. You’ve broken the world marathon record. What do you look forward to next in your career?

My plans are a blank piece of paper. I normally go by one plan at a time and my plan was to run the Berlin marathon. Now, I will take some time to myself for recovery. I have a family, so I spend time with them. I like reading some books to get some stories from around the world. That’s what keeps me when I’m in recovery.

Do you still have future goals in your head?

At the beginning of the season, my trainer said, ‘you have written history with Breaking2‘. I’ve also ran 2:03, 2:04 and 2:05 already, today it was 2:01. 2:02 is still missing, right?

How do you motivate yourself to keep on running? 

It’s easy. I love the sport, so I cannot stop.

You are always smiling in exhausting races. Your smile is iconic. What are you thinking about during those moments?

Marathon is life. And if you really want to be happy, then you have to enjoy life. That’s why I smile. I enjoy running the marathon.

» Photograph and Q&A courtesy of Nike