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Why Eliud Kipchoge guards his mental health jealously

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Eliud Kipchoge Guards his mental health jealously
Eliud Kipchoge Guards his mental health jealously. Photo/Athletics Illustrated
  • Eliud Kipchoge is undoubtedly the greatest marathoner of the 21st century
  • The double Olympic marathon says mental health depends on the people one surrounds himself with
  • He also has a set of values that he lives by

Eliud Kipchoge is undoubtedly the greatest marathoner of the 21st century, and a lot of his success has to do with his mental health.

In reality, however, there’s a lot more to Kipchoge than what you see in the media. Firstly, he is not planning on retiring anytime soon.

The double Olympic marathon winner cheekily says that he will retire ‘someday’. For now, though, his prize is to keep winning all the major marathons in the world.

And for him to do this, he needs to be in a good state of mind.


He recently opened up to DW Africa during a recent visit to his farm in Rift Valley, Kenya. He opened up about his mental health and how he stays positive even under the most difficult of circumstances.

After 18 years of being in the tracks, he is happy for what he’s accomplished so far in life.

But, a lot of it has to do with his surroundings which influence his mental health.

Eliud Kipchoge Tokyo marathon 2022

Eliud Kipchoge won the Tokyo Marathon 2022. Photo/Olympics

In 2021, Kenya lost three great athletes to mental-related illnesses.  The murder of world cross country champion Agnes Tirop last year was a hard tackle for Kenyan athletes.

She was a victim of mental stress that got to her husband who stabbed her to death. Thus, when Kipchoge speaks of surroundings, he is aware of how much it influences one’s mental health.

Kipchoge holds that while mental stress among Kenyan athletes increases, it is a result of being with negative people.

For him though, the last 18 years haven’t been too bad because he surrounds himself with positive energy. People in and outside the world of athletics ooze positivity which helps him stay focused.

The 2018 Berlin Marathon champion remarks that he lives by a set of values that help him stay on top of his game and be mentally strong.

The 38-year-old values integrity so much that he cannot live without it.

“In sport what I mean by integrity is the courage to go to the next mile. Courage to face anything in your life,” he says.

He also lives by family values, self-discipline and consistency.


On top of his list his coach Patrick Sang. He is supportive and has influenced his life positively.

The coach taught him to always trust that he is the best, live an honest and treat himself as the best.

Kipchoge further opines that he understands life well because “where there is life there are challenges”. This realization has enabled him to deal with negative situations soberly.

Despite life’s hardships, Kipchoge says that pushing yourself hard enough to the end promotes mental health.

He advises young athletes gunning for success to be value-oriented people to succeed in life. Kipchoge explains that it is hard to sway a person who believes in good things.

“In life, the idea is to be happy. So, I believe in calm, simple, low-profile life. You live simple, you train hard and live an honest life. Then you are free,” he says.


While at the Oxford Union in 2018, he shared his secret to success. He pointed out the need to work hard, challenge oneself, and have proper planning.

“Self-discipline can help you to actually get three things. It can save your feelings. Get you back on the course when you try to think otherwise, self-discipline can help easily come back and think positively. It helps you do the right thing at the moment for long-term benefits.”

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge during the INEOS challenge.[Credit/]

“Make discipline your lifestyle. Discipline is not a one-time event. Self-discipline is like building your muscle. It’s like going to the gym. You cannot go to the gym today and build your muscle. You should get a program and go slowly by slowly. That’s the way to build your muscle and that’s the way you can have discipline.”

Another interesting bit is he tells people to slave for their passion because this is where success comes from.

Then, there is the law of consistency: “The law of consistency says you should get motivated. Motivation makes you move. Motivation makes you to go forward.”

“When you bring motivation and discipline (together), then you can be consistent. When you combine it all together, they say if you want to grow, consistency is the key.

A journalism professional with hands-on experience in radio and digital content editing and publishing. A team player who achieves work goals through teamwork and collaboration. Willing to learn and take calculated risks to get work done.

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