Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: 90.5 The Night

The world's fastest marathoner wanted Boston under his belt. The day had other plans

Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line and takes sixth place in the professional Men's Division during the 127th Boston Marathon.
Maddie Meyer
Getty Images
Eliud Kipchoge crosses the finish line and takes sixth place in the professional Men's Division during the 127th Boston Marathon.

Turns out, Mondays can suck for everyone.

Who is he? Eliud Kipchoge is a 38-year-old Kenyan runner, who has been heralded by many as one of the greatest marathoners of all time.

  • Kipchoge holds two Olympic gold medals in the event, four first-place finishes in the London Marathon, another four at the Berlin marathon and first place finishes in Chicago and Tokyo, according to reporting from GBH member station reporter Esteban Bustillos.
  • He also set the world record for fastest marathon time, running a time of 2 hours, 1 minute and nine seconds in Berlin last year.
  • And if that weren't enough, in 2019, he became the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna. Though it didn't qualify as a record breaker because of the controlled nature of the run, it still was a sign to experts that a sub-2-hour marathon record could be near.
  • What's the big deal? Kipchoge had set his sights on conquering the Boston marathon in his debut for the race next. But it didn't quite go as planned.

  • Prior to the race that took place early on Monday, Kipchoge had said that while he didn't expect to break any records, he did say his plan was to "see [him]self winning"
  • Though he started out in the leading pack, conditions like wet terrain and strong headwinds are thought to have contributed to the world-record breaker dropping off around the 20th mile, following the missed hand-off of his water bottle.

  • Want more sports? Listen to Consider This on Colin Kaepernick revisiting his adolesensce in his latest graphic novel.

  • WBUR contributor Barbara Huebner described the Boston marathon course as "positively punishing," with hills and inclines that provide a challenge even for the most seasoned professionals.
  • The first-place victory went to the defending champion Evans Chebet, a fellow Kenyan who finished the oldest marathon in history with a final time of 2 hours, five minutes and 54 seconds. Kipchoge finished in sixth.
  • It's the first major marathon Kipchoge has participated in and failed to win (yet).
  • What are people saying?

    Here's his Instagram post shortly after the race:

    "I live for the moments where I get to challenge the limits. It's never guaranteed, it's 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."

    Chebet's POV:

    I did not observe Kipchoge. Eliud was not so much of a threat because the bottom line was that we trained well.

    And some commentary from the women's victor, Hellen Obiri

    "In a marathon anything can happen. It was a strong field, and everybody was there to race."

    So, what now?

  • At the time of publication, Kipchoge hasn't spoken to the press yet about his performance and what he thinks happened.
  • His Boston marathon time of 2 hours, nine minutes and 23 seconds was the slowest of his career
  • According to NBC sports,His future plans include breaking an Olympic marathon record in the Paris 2024 games, as well as winning all six of the world's major marathons. He currently has four.
  • Learn more:

  • A Spanish athlete spent 500 days alone in a cave — for science
  • The Biden administration moves to make broad, transgender sports bans illegal
  • Golf has a problem: people are hitting the ball too far
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

    Corrected: April 17, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT
    A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Eliud Kipchoge's world record for fastest marathon time was 2 hours, 9 minutes and 1 second. In fact, it was 2 hours, 1 minute and nine seconds.
    Manuela López Restrepo
    Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.