Kenyan marathon star Kipchoge hits the ground running in Shanghai
It's been four years since Eliud Kipchoge last visited Shanghai. As the world's greatest marathon runner and a double Olympic champion, the Kenyan spares no effort when it comes to promoting running and communicating with local runners.
"One of my favorite things about running is that it unites us all," he said. "It fades differences and sharing our passion brings us together. It's great to be back in China where I have the opportunity to meet so many fans who share the same love of running. I get so much energy from meeting all of these wonderful people, which fills me with motivation when I start training for my next race."
Kipchoge is in town to unveil the first set of INEOS 1:59 Pace Challenge posts in China, as well as attend a few other running-related activities organized by his sponsors.
He led INEOS China employees on a two-kilometer run along Suzhou Creek in Putuo District.
The INEOS 1:59 Pace Challenge is a global running challenge open to all participants who aim to complete 352.6 meters in under 1 minute, representing the speed at which Kipchoge covered the marathon distance.
Kipchoge, who turns 39 next month, has long been the world record holder of the men's marathon event. Earlier this month, his 23-year-old compatriot Kelvin Kiptum took over the crown by creating a new world record of 2 hours and 35 seconds in Chicago, beating Kipchoge's 2:01:09 that he set at last year's Berlin Marathon.
"I believe I can break the record again, because sports have no limits," the veteran runner said.
"I'm still eager to run fast, but I'm also happy to see the rising younger runners, who have been training in the right way and can recover quickly," he said.
After winning his third Berlin Marathon title in September, Kipchoge has set his sights on defending his Olympic title in Paris next year.
"I don't think of age or for how much longer I can run. For me, the marathon is life. For running, China is the future. If I can inspire people, that's my happiness," he said.
Kipchoge said he has been impressed by the thrilling running culture and the increase of runners in China over the years. In his previous visits, he tended to talk more about his running and training life. But in his most recent visit, to encourage more people into running has become his major interest.
"I believe more people will join the sport and share the joy of running, especially children. If we encourage kids to do some running on an everyday basis, some might develop a running career," he said.