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Glory, cash windfall for Kenyan marathon great

James Magayi @magayijim

Thirty-three-year-old Eliud Kipchoge cemented his status as the greatest marathon runner of all time with an unprecedented 2:01:39 performance at the 45th BMW Berlin Marathon yesterday.

The former track-star-turned-roadrunner’s 1.18-second improvement on Dennis Kimetto’s erstwhile record is the biggest in the history of the men’s marathon world record for more than 50 years. The feat raises Kipchoge’s current status among the highest since the exit of Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt.

While there have been aspersions cast on other high achieving Kenyan athletes owing to doping prevalence among the country’s runners, Kipchoge’s victories are well received by the entire athletics fraternity. He is among the most tested athletes with several out of competition tests before and after every marathon. And he is without blemish.

As his stature in the world of athletics soared, so did his bank account as he is set to pocket (€110, 000) Sh13 million from the race organisers alone. A befitting windfall for two grueling hours of running on the tarmac, with a bigger intake anticipated from his sponsors Nike.

The already confirmed earnings are based on three aspects of the race namely; winning prize (€40, 000) Sh4.7 million, record bonus (€50, 000) Sh5.8 million and an additional (€20, 000) Sh2.3 million for the scorching pace. Nike is rumored to have tied Kipchoge to a Sh100 million a year contract after his breathtaking victory in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He is believed to be in line for a Sh30 million bonus from Nike for the conquest of Berlin, meaning he is set to pocket an astonishing Sh43 million for his heroics in the German capital.

“We have lined up very handsome rewards for this exceptionally gifted athlete but his sponsors will probably give him more. It is never easy to know what kit manufacturers give because of no disclosure clauses in their contracts but he deserves plenty of rewards for his effort,” said Berlin Marathon Organisers SCC Events through spokesman Thomas Steffens.

Kipchoge’s victory also puts him on course for a Sh50 million windfall at the close of the Abbot World Marathon Majors Series XII next year as he needs just one more victory to cash in. Chicago and New York may be too soon for him but Kipchoge will be fit to contend for Tokyo, Boston or London marathons then close the season with the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Qatar before a return to Berlin.

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