Eliud Kipchoge’s Shocking Loss at the Boston Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge’s GOAT status has been called into question after he suffered a defeat at the Boston Marathon.

Josh Thomas

Eliud Kipchoge’s GOAT status has been called into question after he suffered a defeat at the Boston Marathon.

Josh Thomas, Copy Editor

“No human is limited.” These are the words of Eliud Kipchoge. He has won the Olympics twice, broken the world record twice, is the only person to have broken two hours in the marathon, and has 10 World Major Marathon wins. Kipchoge is undoubtedly the greatest marathoner of all time.

Senior Luke Knepp is an all-state cross country runner and medalist in the state track meet. “He inspires people every day. I’ve looked up to him for my entire running career,” Knepp shared about Kipchoge.

So why did he lose the 127th edition of the Boston Marathon? 

The gun went off at 9:37 a.m. on Monday, April 17. Kipchoge took the race out hard, coming through the first 5K of the race in a blistering 14:17. At an average of 4:36 per mile, Kipchoge was on pace to break his own world record. 

Boston is a hilly course, so the pace slowed as the race progressed. Kipchoge seemed to be in full control of the race through the halfway mark and beyond, even cruising out a shocking 4:23 16th mile. However, at the 19-mile mark near the grueling Newton Hills, Gabriel Geay of Tanzania dropped the hammer, and dropped Kipchoge from the pack as well. 

Kipchoge was no longer in the front pack by the 20-mile mark as the distance between him and the leaders continued to grow. For his final 10K, Kipchoge only managed a 33:14, a pedestrian pace of 5:20 per mile. He wound up in a disappointing 6th place with a time of 2:09:23, the slowest time he had ever run.

Senior Michael Chang has been a member of the cross-country and track teams for four years, and has closely followed Kipchoge’s running career.  “Even though Kipchoge has the world record, I think it may be time to retire. He has already made it clear that he is the GOAT and I think he can rest. He has nothing else to prove,” Chang stated. 

After the race, many shared the opinion of Chang. At the veteran age of 38, was it possible that Kipchoge had started to lose some of his magic? No, that couldn’t be. Kipchoge had just set the world record of 2:01:09 a couple months ago at the Berlin Marathon.

Coming into Boston, naysayers doubted Kipchoge’s ability to handle hills. This doubt, however, was greatly misplaced, as Kipchoge spends much of his time cranking out 20-mile long runs in the Kenyan mountains. 

Could it have been the weather? In the chaotic year of 2020, Kipchoge suffered a loss at the London Marathon to the Ethiopian runner Shura Kitata, also in rainy and cold conditions. However, Kipchoge has shown that he can handle adverse weather, as he won the 2017 Berlin Marathon in pouring rain. 

The question of why Kipchoge lost may never be answered, but his unfortunate race depicts an important lesson. Kipchoge’s character is far more important than his performances. “His running style and discipline to the sport is inspiring to all. He not only wants the best for himself but for his teammates and his competitors,” Knepp elaborated.

So whether Kipchoge struggled on the hills, in the rain, or is just simply aging out of the sport, his motto of “No human is limited” still holds true. Kipchoge is an icon, and in some way, shape, or form, he’ll be back.