The last time I saw Eliud at the press conference in Berlin in 2018. He is a friendly and obliging man. He came up to me and shook my hand because he knew me from other press conferences. Not many athletes did that, except Haile Gebrselassie and Paula Radcliffe.
Eliud looks very smart and modest. He speaks good English and thinks for a moment before he says anything. But what makes him special is its incredible way of running. He flies like a feather. His running style is not spectacular, but also somewhat modest. It does not look so fast when it flies by. Other runners are much more dynamic. But he is just efficient, economical and unpretentious. I’ve seen many top runners in action, but none of them could as Eliud can.
What I like less is the actions of the sponsors around him. His equipment company has once again come into disrepute with the story of Alberto Zalazar and the Nike Oregon Project. Now one can only hope that this has nothing to say. INEOS is a chemical company with over $ 40 billion in annual sales. They are very aggressive, buying many companies that have to run with petrochemicals and solvents chemistry. Why is the $ 30 million spent on such a project?
Anyway. I am puzzled by the athletic value of this action. It’s all about marketing, megalomania and, frankly, money. It annoys me how blind people are. What is the value of a time that has arisen under laboratory conditions, so to speak? I do not understand that everyone is freaking out … the first human to run 42.195 km under 2 hours. Proverbs such as, the man knows no bounds that he cannot reach, are stupid and unreflected in the face of what mankind on earth does. Do we need such events with miracle runners as Eliud is one? My answer is yes because narcissism is not only increasing among heads of state. The average citizen needs such WOW messages to upgrade. The average person closes his eyes and also praises performance jumps of anorexic athletes who have set a new best time without batting an eyelid. Performance makes us love, whatever the cost! By the way, Nike is always in the party, but of course completely unaware when someone flies up again with doping.
In the past, top athletes were heroes for me. Now, after getting to know them better, they are hard-working, highly talented people. They are fooled and driven to do something that does not do them good. They get admiration and attention from a sensational driven society with a lack of self-esteem. But only as long as they work. After that, they end up sick, accused, ashamed, and without any prospects in the sinking. INEOS and Co. are rubbing the dollar hands.
I love to see Kipchoge running. He is unique for that matter. I like his style, his nature, and his story. I will miss the press conferences with him because I hardly believe that I will visit one again. I will not photograph him while running anymore. I hope he survives his marketing reasonably well. There have been a few centuries of talent that have ended their lives prematurely. The show must go on.
Today, a Kenyan beat the women’s world record from Paula Radcliffe by more than 1 minute; her own PB for over four minutes. That stinks to the sky and the world cheers. Nothing is impossible!
all photos were taken by me