Eliud Kipchoge Says China Will be the Future Destination For Top Marathons

Former world record holder credits China's blossoming running culture and explosion in number of races

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Renowned Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge, a double Olympic champion and former long-standing world record holder, has declared China as the future destination for hosting exceptional and record-breaking marathon races, such as the World Marathon Majors. Currently, Tokyo is the sole representative race in the prestigious global series.

Kipchoge’s recent visits to China have left a lasting mark on his perception of the country’s blossoming running culture, prompting him to express his belief that China holds the key to the future of marathons.

During his visit to Shanghai in October, Kipchoge not only engaged with local runners and school students but also expressed his admiration for China’s thrilling running culture

Eliud Kipchoge in 2008, racing early in his road running career

Having witnessed the surge in the number of runners, especially among the youth, Kipchoge said, “For me, marathon is life, and China is the future. With such a great population and the increasing runners, especially youngsters, it has to be the future.”

Kipchoge, celebrated not only for his illustrious marathon career, but also for his dedication to promoting the sport and inspiring youth runners, emphasized the unifying power of running. 

“One of my favorite things about running is that it unites us all. It fades differences, and sharing our passion brings us together.” 

Kipchoge’s interactions with Chinese fans and runners have fueled his motivation, highlighting the potential for marathon running to bring people of all backgrounds together.

The Chinese Athletics Association’s data has also revealed a remarkable surge in the number of marathon and road running events in China, increasing from 51 in 2014 to 1,828 in 2019. 

China has long been seen as an obvious target for a potential future World Marathon Major, as the series seems poised to expand beyond its current roster of six races, and capitalize on the running boom in Asia. The Shanghai Marathon, along with Xiamen International Marathon or the Beijing Marathon, would be top candidates to one day join Tokyo, London, Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York City.

Last month, Sydney Marathon passed the first stage in becoming the seventh Marathon Major, as expansion in Asia and Oceana seem to be a top priority for both World Athletics, the governing body of running, and Abbott, the title sponsor and overseers of the World Marathon Majors brand.

Eliud Kipchoge Says China Will be the Future Destination For Top Marathons 1

Inviting foreign elite runners, including Kenyan athletes like Kipchoge, has become a common practice, contributing to the overall enhancement of the events and fostering international communication. Kipchoge’s compatriots have frequently set blazing times in these domestic marathon events, further encouraging China’s potential on the global marathon stage.

Beyond his athletic achievements, Kipchoge has actively engaged in popularizing correct running knowledge and training methods during his trips to China. He sees these efforts as crucial in nurturing the next generation of runners and ensuring the sport’s continued growth. 

Despite the recent breaking of his world record by fellow Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum, Kipchoge remains undeterred, expressing his belief that he can break the record again, as “sports have no limits.”

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As Eliud Kipchoge prepares for future races, including the defense of his Olympic title in Paris, he envisions China as a pivotal player in the global marathon scene. 

Impressed by China’s thrilling running culture and the increasing number of enthusiasts, Kipchoge’s advocacy for running in China highlights the potential for the nation to become a hotspot for record-breaking marathon events. 

With his ongoing commitment to giving back to the sport and his belief in the limitless possibilities of running, Kipchoge’s endorsement boasts China’s position as a future hub for marathon excellence.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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