London Marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge tells fans to trust his performance
Marathon king Eliud Kipchoge has told sceptics of his incredible performance that he could not live with himself if he was cheating.
The world record holder powered to his fourth London title on Sunday, smashing the course record and beating Mo Farah all ends up.
He has now won 10 consecutive marathons at a time when a number of his fellow Kenyan athletes have failed drugs tests.
Half-marathon world record holder Abraham Kiptum was kicked out of the London race on Friday after being provisionally suspended for an athlete biological passport violation.
Asbel Kiprop and Jemima Sumgong, Olympic champions over 1500m and marathon respectively, are both serving four-year bans.
Kipchoge, 34, is distance running’s Usain Bolt, a serial gatherer of world records, gold medals and major titles. But such is the mistrust in athletics due to the sins of too many for too long, nobody is above suspicion.
The morning after romping to victory in two hours two minutes 37 seconds, Kipchoge stared out over London Bridge and insisted he is the real deal.
“It is totally important for me to show that you can win running clean,” he said. “To show the next generation what is possible.
“I cannot stand in front of kids around the world and tell them to love the sport if I am not honest and true to myself.
“They would complain ‘you took a short cut to show your greatness’ and that would destroy me.
“I need the fans to believe which is why I work hard to hopefully give inspiration to the next generation.”
Kipchoge tops the new IAAF world male rankings, ahead of American sprinter Noah Lyles, with Reece Prescod (47th) and Farah (51st) the top-rated Brits.
Not surprisingly his coach Patrick Sang insists the best is still to come from an athlete who stands as a major obstacle between Farah and his twin dreams of London Marathon glory and a fifth Olympic gold medal in next year’s Tokyo marathon.
Neither man has confirmed his plans for the next 18 months and the margin of Farah’s defeat at the weekend - more than three minutes - could yet influence his future course.
But Kipchoge expects Farah to come back stronger for a chastening experience made worse by the blowback from his very public spat with Haile Gebrselassie.
“I hope and expect Mo will keep pushing me,” he said. “I think he has a faster time in him. I must keep working.”
Kipchoge set such a punishing pace - his time for the 25th mile was 4:26 - that a good many of the elite athletes finishing behind him grimaced with pain as they left the scene.
Callum Hawkins, running his first marathon since collapsing whilst leading the Commonwealth Games race a year ago, feared he would suffer a similar fate.
"At the 40km mark, I looked down to grit my teeth and go but I had a bit of moment,” he said. “Almost blackout, but I managed to get myself together."
NHS radiographer Hayley Carruthers did collapse yards from the finish in the women’s race and had to crawl on hands and knees across the line.
“My head was gone, I think I lost sight in one eye,” admitted the 26-year-old, who finished 18th and amazingly was back at work yesterday. “I couldn’t lift my legs at all and I just couldn’t move. It was just petrifying. I genuinely didn't think I could finish.”
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