Eliud Kipchoge has eyes on Tokyo 2020 as 1:59 documentary release looms

The 38-year-old Kenyan is attempting to become only the third man to win back-to-back Olympic marathon gold medals.

By ZK Goh
Picture by Getty Images

Eliud Kipchoge will be a man on a mission on 8 August 2021 when the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games men's marathon takes place in Sapporo.

No defending Olympic champion has won a second straight marathon gold medal since Waldemar Cierpinski did so at Moscow 1980 as the reigning champion from 1976.

Now, more than 40 years later, Kenya's Kipchoge will attempt to become just the third person, after Cierpinski and Ethiopian legend Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) to win back-to-back Olympic marathon titles.

The effort will come nearly two years after becoming the first man to run a marathon distance under two hours, when he completed the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna in 1:59:40.

That particular achievement will be celebrated in August with the release of a new documentary, titled Kipchoge: The Last Milestone.

Eliud Kipchoge 1:59 documentary

The trailer for the Kenyan's new film has just been released, with Kipchoge writing on social media: "I hope by watching this film you will also feel inspired to run."

In the trailer, the 38-year-old says: "In the journey of life, there [are] ups and downs. In marathon, there [are] a lot of challenges, ups and downs. There is pain in training, pain in running, and joy at the end of the marathon."

The documentary will tell the story of how Kipchoge prepared for the monumental task.

Ridley Scott Creative Group, the documentary's producers, said in a statement that the film offers "unprecedented access to Eliud […] ahead of his attempt to achieve the seemingly impossible," including "footage from his home in Kenya, interviews with those closest to him, details of the daily rituals of his life and the dynamics within his team and community."

Eliud Kipchoge's shoes

The Kenyan's famous trainers he wore during that milestone-breaking attempt have since been enshrined in a museum.

London's Victoria and Albert Museum, an art and design museum, obtained Kipchoge's Nike AlphaFly shoes for a new permanent gallery called "Design 1900-Now" that opened earlier in June.

That is not the only artefact from the run in Vienna that has made headlines recently.

Kipchoge was part of Kenya's first major NFT – non-fungible token – auction. NFTs are unique digital items stored online on blockchains, similar to cryptocurrency.

The star sold two high-quality videos of his biggest achievements, the Ineos 1:59 run and his 2018 Berlin Marathon world record run (2:01:39) as well as a personalised message for U.S. $37,351.07 – around 31,300 euros.

Kipchoge's training routine and how Covid affected it

The Kenyan has always been one who prefers training in a group.

He once said: "You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time. There is a formula: 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team."

However, the Covid-19 pandemic changed that. Suddenly, Kipchoge was forced to run alone on his training sessions due to lockdown restrictions.

"It was really hard to go training and not mix with people to fight the virus," he said in March ahead of the NN Mission Marathon, originally scheduled for Hamburg before being moved to Twente Airport, the Netherlands.

"I am happy to have since resumed training with the team, but we continue to make sure we do so safely within the protocols because the virus is still with us.

"Life has been hard but that is the way of the world – we need to get through it but I think we are on the right track to a brighter future.

"Life cannot stop, it does not stop for a single second. But what everyone should know is, the pandemic is just one of life’s challenges. Marathons are just like life, there are ups and downs every kilometre. Every mile there is a challenge.

"We should all be prepared to accommodate challenges in life but above all enjoy and embrace the challenges."

Kipchoge was vaccinated against Covid-19 at the end of April.

What next for Kipchoge? The star's future plans

The immediate future for Kipchoge consists of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic marathon in Sapporo, but beyond that, the 38-year-old has a "bucket list" of items he wants to check off.

Speaking recently to the Flotrack podcast, Kipchoge revealed that he wants to have competed in every World Marathon Major.

Kipchoge has competed in the Olympic Games, World Championships, London, Berlin, and Chicago Marathons, leaving him with the Boston, New York, and Tokyo Marathons.

He also admitted that he would like to run even longer distances, beyond the marathon's 42.195km.

"I would love to try 80km, 60km. I need to go to California and hike for six hours," he told Flotrack.