Eliud Kipchoge, Finishing a race with a smile

By Ahmet Abdulaziz ….

I repeatedly watched the video of ELIUD KIPCHOGE of Kenya winning the marathon in Vienna, Austria last week, finishing the marathon in record 1:59:40, to become the first person to create history by bringing the marathon running time below 2 hours.

Of course I enjoy watching his video again and again to witness history in the making, as I still watch the video of 2018  Berlin marathon where Eliud had broken the previous record by completing it in 02: 01 : 39.

What makes me watch these videos repeatedly is the way he smiles, when he finishes the marathon.  To me his smile represents his inner feelings. A very interesting way of expressing his inner feelings. However it is not only just his smile, it is his expression of joy and achievement represented by the way he spreads his both arms and looks around towards the spectators, seconds before crossing the finishing line, which is simply worthy of watching.

Every athlete has his own way of expressing his achievement and winning a marathon.  For example I like both Kenenesa Bekele and Haile Gebrselassie. Of these two I like the smile of Gebrselassie more. Though Bekele is my favourite, but he appears to keep his joy inside. His smile is very light and it seems he does not want to express his inner feelings.

However, unfortunately in the heat of creation of a new world record by Eliud Kipchoge, the new world record of BRIGID KOSGEI of Kenya went unnoticed. She created a world record by finishing the Chicago marathon in 2:14:04  on 13th October 2019. She broke the long standing record of Paula Radcliffe, which she had created in 2003 by finishing the London Marathon in 2:15:25.

When I watched the video of Brigid Kosgei, finishing this last marathon and creating the world record, I noticed the lack of smile on her face. She did smile, she expressed her feelings of joy, but not in a way that others do. However this is her own style of being happy and celebrating victory.

Now when I discuss all this, the name Paula Radcliffe, reminded me of her very unique style of running. Her style in which she constantly moves her face up and down, became her peculiar style. I do not think any other long distance runner adopted such a different style. As right now I once again watch her finishing her London marathon in 2003, I found her totally exhausted. Thus she could neither smile nor jump in joy or open her arms like Kipchoge does. However I know she does have a soft smile on her face while finishing any race.

When I compare smiles and expression of happiness and achievements of long distance runners, there is one person, whom I always watch with a special interest. He is MO FARAH. Though he is not a marathon runner, but is a long distance runner, for me he does have a very unique smile. He not only exhibits a broad smile, but also opens his arms. His smile however is not just a simple smile, it’s something just less than a laugh. He opens his mouth in joy, looks around like Kipchoge, and usually opens his arms too. But he is very different from others. Unfortunately Mo Farah has never been my favourite, but I always like to watch videos showing him running.

However, the fact is that none of the above celebrities of long distance running, can compete with me when it comes to joy and expression of finishing a marathon. Yes, I become very happy and much happier than all those who finish the marathon race in the timing somewhere around 2 hours, when I complete the same distance in less than 6 hours time. For me finishing the distance of 42 km and 200m below 6 hours is one wonderful moment of my life. However when I do this and become happy, I do not smile, I do not open my arms, I do not jump with joy, just because there has never been anyone waiting for me at the unmarked finishing line of the marathon that I run and complete all alone.

Happiness is one thing that can neither be bought nor measured. It differs from person to person. Everyone expresses this feeling in one way or another. I too have my own way, and I like that.