The London Marathon was supposed to be festive than usual, especially for Eliad Kipchuga and Kenisa Bakla. • The two fastest runners in history have taken a hard time postponing the event to October, and even sound pessimistic about its existence on the new date. They haven't registered yet
Eliod Kipchuga in London. The race also fell victim to the Corona epidemic
Yesterday, on this page, a run of historic potential was scheduled to appear. On the start line for the London Marathon, the two best runners should ever face: Xi'an World (2:01:39 hrs) and the only person to drop two hours (informally running) Kenyan Elip Kipchuga, alongside Xi'an World at 5,000 and 10,000 meters and the one who set 2:01:41 hours in the last Berlin Marathon, Kenissa in Ethiopian cod. Simply put: a head-to-head battle between the only two runners in history who broke the 2:02 p.m.
Running enthusiasts waited for the event impatiently and the anticipation of a one-off achievement was real, but like many other sporting events, the London Marathon also fell victim to the Corona epidemic and was rejected. As of this moment, a new date has been set for October 4, but it is clear to everyone that it is impossible to make a commitment on that date, nor is it known what the state of Kipchuga and cod will be six months from now.
Even before meeting the fastest runners in history, the London Marathon 2020 had a particularly festive vibe. "It was supposed to be our 40th marathon, and I'm sure it was a very happy day," Race Manager Hugh Brasher said this week. Also, the event was scheduled to smash fundraising records after last year alone the London Marathon collected £ 66m for needy organizations.
At least this lack, with the help of private initiatives and in cooperation with the race organizers, is trying to fulfill the British with the 2.6 challenge (the length of the marathon is 26 miles) born of the difficult economic situation. Children, adults, celebrities and athletes were asked to document themselves doing sports activity related to number 26 (run 26 minutes, go up 26 steps, walk 2.6 miles, etc.), under government restrictions of course, and choose an organization to which the donation money will be transferred. Soccer player Gareth Bale, rider Chris Fromm and singer Eli Golding have already signed up.
The lack of sportsmanship, however, has yet to find a solution. Kipchuga's and cod's hypotheses about what would happen on Sunday pinch the hearts of marathon enthusiasts even more. "It could have been the best marathon run in history," said last year's champion in a joint interview with RUNNERS WORLD, in which Bakla added: "I think if we pushed each other all the way, there was potential for a world record."
Cod at the Berlin Marathon. The future is ever vague // Photo: AP
But instead of pushing each other, they both find it hard to push themselves within the existing restrictions. From their home in East Africa, Kipchuga and Bakla told about their training routine these days. "I train to keep fit, but you can't reach peak fitness when you are training alone," said the Kenyan. Bakla reinforced: "I try to maintain my fitness, but it's just not that efficient. All I can do is pray that this thing is over already."
Only an elite marathon?
Between prayers and training, cod and kipchuga understand that the future is ever vague. The Berlin Marathon set for September has already been canceled, and although the London Marathon has been moved to October 4, Brasher admits that "there are ten options that change every day." One of the options is to run a marathon only for elite runners and not for amateurs, but Brasher knows that this is not at all certain: "I hope to see them in October, but there really is no way to know what will be."
Probably also Bakla and Kipchuga do not know, because the two have not yet registered for the new London Marathon. "The most important thing now is to help those who are able to fight the Corona virus," said Bakla. For Kipchuga, the focus should be on maintaining health. "If everything goes back to normal," Xian World said, "I'd love to run a marathon at the end of the year."
On top of that, Tokyo 2021 and beyond, they are unwilling to commit.