It’s fair to say that certain countries and regions of the world have dominated particular sports over time. Although scientists may search for answers as to why this is the case, often delivering convincing arguments, there may be factors at play which are beyond the understanding of ‘observers’.
The perfect example of this is the dominance of East Africa in distance running events. No, there isn’t conclusive evidence to support the notion that East African runners have a genetic advantage, or that their environment is the optimal place to train. And while the possibility that such advantages exist, there are likely cultural influences that play a significant part in why East African countries produce so many talented runners.
Part of these cultural influences are often the runners themselves. The mind is immediately drawn to Eliud Kipchoge when considering this notion. Putting aside all of Kipchoge’s incredible performances on the track and road, it’s clear that he has the potential to inspire more people to take up the sport of running. Eliud Kipchoge believes there are no limits to his potential - or yours.
While the Nike EK Umoja collection celebrates Eliud’s record-breaking 5,000m performance in the 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris, it symbolises something else too. Emoji is Swahili for unity. Yes, lots of runners want to run faster times in races. But, that’s not the source of all motivation - people run to be part of something. That’s the point of this article. Greatness may come from optimising the finer details of performance. It also comes from having fun and being part of a collective. In the immortal words of Bill Bowerman, ‘If you have a body, you are an athlete.’ It doesn’t matter how fast or far you go, running is running. And doing it together is usually better.
Eliud Kipchoge is planning to return to the Berlin Marathon this September, as part of his preparation for Paris 2024. We expect everyone wants to see Kipchoge run well at Berlin and produce a captivating performance. As he has done so many times. However, we hope you’ll be inspired to go out and run, no matter what happens and irrespective of if any records are broken.
Please enjoy some imagery of Eliud Kipchoge’s training and the special Nike EK running shoes that reflect the Nike Zoom Miler track spikes he wore in Paris in 2003. Stay tuned for more coverage of the Berlin Marathon in September.