Eliud Kipchoge reveals leg issue held him back at Boston Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge reveals leg issue held him back at Boston Marathon

For perhaps the greatest marathoner of all time, losses do not come frequently. But on Monday, the world’s marathon record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, showed that he is human, finishing sixth in his Boston Marathon debut in 2:09:23–a long way from his goal of not just winning, but setting a course record. Although his Kenyan compatriot Evans Chebet rightfully earned his second straight Boston title, winning in 2:05:54, many were left wondering what happened to Kipchoge.

After the marathon, he was scheduled to speak to the media at the post-race press conference, but he did not attend, and did not say why. On Tuesday morning, at the champions’ press conference, Kipchoge spoke to journalists for 10 minutes and revealed he had an issue with his left leg around the 30 km mark. He also said the leg issue is not serious, and that he intends to get back to training when he returns to Kenya.

“I developed an upper leg issue at 30K, and I told myself that I cannot quit,” said Kipchoge on Tuesday morning in Copley Square. “I do not think it was related to the rainy weather or the hills.”

A replay showed that Kipchoge missed his hydration bottle at the 28 km mark, just before Boston’s infamous Heartbreak Hill. Defending champion Chebet and Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay made a move on the hill, dropping the double Olympic marathon champion.

Kipchoge was without his “bottle guy” in Boston, who has been known to run or bike alongside him at various points during the race, which ultimately makes it easier for Kipchoge to take in hydration. The 38-year-old did not specifically disclose the issue, but we can speculate that he may have suffered cramps or muscle spasms.

Yesterday, he took to his social media to express gratitude to the race and his competitors: “I live for the moments where I get to challenge the limits. It’s never guaranteed and it is never easy. Today was a tough day for me. I pushed myself as hard as I could, but sometimes, we must accept that today wasn’t the day to push the barrier to a greater height.”

eliud kipchoge
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge greets a crowd of fans on Saturday afternoon in Boston. Photo: Kevin Morris

Chebet won the race in 2:05:54, which is the third-fastest men’s winning time in Boston Marathon history. With his win, Chebet is the first man to successfully defend his title since Kenya’s Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot did so in 2008.

Kipchoge concluded Tuesday’s media conference by stating that he loved his first Boston experience and plans to “absolutely” come back here and win.

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