Asturias Award winner Kipchoge explains Boston Marathon poor showing

Kipchoge is the only athlete in history who has run a marathon in less than two hours

Asturias Award winner Kipchoge explains Boston Marathon poor showing

Kenyan marathon specialist Eliud Kipchoge has won the Princess of Asturias Award for sports for 2023, the Spanish foundation that organizes the prizes said Thursday.

Kipchoge, 38, who took Olympic gold medals in the marathon in 2016 and 2020 and was world 5,000 meters champion in 2003 “is considered a legend in world athletics and the best marathon runner of all time,” the foundation’s panel of judges said in a statement.

The foundation highlighted that he is known as “the philosopher” for his strategy and concentration in running. Kipchoge has won in 10 editions of four of the major marathons, including London and Berlin four times each.

He is the current Olympic marathon champion and holds the world record for the discipline, with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, 9 seconds set in Berlin last year. That timing lowered by 30 seconds the record he himself had set in 2018.

In a statement from Kipchoge forwarded by the foundation after the announcement, he said it was an “absolute honor” to receive the award.

“It motivates me in my goal to leave a legacy in this world through running, since a running world is a more peaceful world, a happier world and a more healthy world,” he said.

Kipchoge is the only athlete in history who has run a marathon in less than two hours, although the timing of 1:59:40 set in Vienna in 2019 isn’t recognized officially as the race was organized so outside aid could be used to help him.

The 50,000-euro award ($54,000) is one of eight prizes awarded for outstanding work in areas such as the arts, communication, scientific research and literature. They are handed out annually by the foundation.

The Olympic Refugee Foundation and the refugee Olympics team won the sports award in 2022.

The prizes are among the most important in the Spanish-speaking world. The award ceremony is held each fall in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo.

Meanwhile, a  month after Eliud Kipchoge’s off day at the Boston Marathon, he posted a video on Twitter recapping his debut on the course. His sixth place finish—in 2:09:23—marked one of the hardest moments in the marathon world record holder’s illustrious career thus far, and he said the moment after the race’s finish was a disappointment, naturally.

“It’s a challenge and what has happened has happened, we have no control and life continues,” the reigning Olympic marathon champion said.

Then, he went on to break down what happened on Marathon Monday, and what he was thinking and feeling.

He says he began the race in full gear, with a positive mindset and “happy mood,” but things went sideways in the latter stages. About three quarters of the way through 26.2, Kipchoge said his energy dropped. The day after the race, he told reporters after the race that his upper left leg started to bother him around the 18-mile mark, but he hasn’t specified the severity of the injury or if it is still affecting him.

But even with his plan of winning and setting a course record off the table, Kipchoge never considered dropping out of the race.

"I kept my eyes on the finish line,” he said. “I crossed it and that was it.”

The feedback Kipchoge received from fans, as well as the marathon sponsors, management, and the overall running community was incredibly positive.

“That’s a huge motivation that I am doing the right thing and that life is about ups and downs,” he said. "That is a huge motivation that I will bounce back.”