In May 2017, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge came tantalizingly close to running a marathon in under 2 hours. Now the world record holder says he’ll make another attempt this fall—and he’s apparently looking for every advantage.
In addition to hyper-specialized shoes and gear from his sponsor, Nike, and world-class coaching, Kipchoge was spotted over the weekend browsing running books on Amazon, lingering especially long on the reader reviews of 4 Months to a 2-Hour Marathon.
“This one looks good,” Kipchoge was heard telling a companion. “All the others seem a bit basic.”
The legendary runner, whom many consider the best marathoner of all time, went on to add that the book seemed “to cover all the bases,” with sections on everything from nutrition to pacing, and even things like mental preparedness.
He took time to read not just the book’s many four- and five-star reviews, a witness said, but actively sought out poor reviews as well.
“Wanna be disappointed? Buy this book,” read the title of a one-star review. “Followed the advice to a tea (sic), got injured in 1st week, on race day was able to (barely!!!) break 2:20. RIP-OFF.”
The book’s positive reviews, however, far outweighed such negative feedback.
“GREAT RESULTS!” read a typical five-star review. “Didn’t break 2:00 but came close enough for me (2:09) and it was a PR to boot. Wish I could give more than 5 stars.”
“Worth the money,” began another. “If you’re looking to break an historic, mythologized barrier, 4 Months to a 2-Hour Marathon is the book for you.”
“Tried 2 Months to a 2-Hour Marathon and got hurt, bad,” read another. “This four-month plan is the way to go.”
On balance, the witness said, Kipchoge seemed sold on the title.
“So if I want to run my marathon on September 28,” said Kipchoge, thinking aloud, “I would begin my training… Would it be on May 28? Even though that’s a Tuesday? Or, like, that following Saturday?”
At last report, Kipchoge had added the book to his cart but had not yet checked out.
* With apologies to Dave Kuehls, author of 4 Months to a 4-Hour Marathon.