Nairobi, March 14 (IANS) Four-time champion Eliud Kipchoge “fully respects” the decision to postpone the 2020 London Marathon over the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Olympic champion and world marathon record-holder was informed of the decision to push back the event originally scheduled for April 5 to October 4 by the organizers minutes before they made the news public on Friday evening.
“It is unfortunate news that the London Marathon has been postponed but I fully respect the decision made by the organization as safeguarding the health of the world always takes our top priority.
“To the thousands of runners who, with me, have devoted the last months of our lives towards this goal I would like to say: Be proud of the work you have put into this journey, keep smiling and seek your next goal on the horizon to continue running in a smooth and positive way!” the Kenyan marathon icon wrote on his Twitter handle following the development.
Kipchoge, who trains in the hilly terrain of Kaptagat in the expansive Rift Valley, was winding down his training preparations for the World Marathon Majors race where he was penned as a headline act.
Bidding to become the first-ever five-time winner of the men’s elite race, the Rio 2016 champion was signed up for an epic showdown with Ethiopian distance running superstar, Kenenisa Bekele, the man who came only two seconds short of breaking his 2:01:38 world record at the 2019 Berlin Marathon.
The four-time London Marathon winner had initially declined to react to the news when it broke as he soaked in the latest turn of events as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to decimate sporting events worldwide.
Kipchoge will now turn his attention to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where he is aiming to become only the third man to win gold back to back provided the event does not fall victim to the coronavirus threat.