Eliud Kipchoge - A Supreme Athlete and True Environmentalist

The world's greatest marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge, is known for his advocacy for the protection of the environment and reforestation.

Eliud Kipchoge after winning the Tokyo Marathon in March 2022 (In a file photo; Credits - Twitter)
By Abhiruchi Rout | Jan 3, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The world’s greatest marathoner, Eliud Kipchoge, is known for his advocacy for the protection of the environment and reforestation. In a recent interview with BBC News Africa, World’s greatest marathoner Eliud Kipchoge stated, “If you train in a polluted environment, you cannot perform. The cleaner the environment, the higher the performance.”

He talked about the Kaptagat forest and how it has impacted his career. “It has made a huge difference in my career. I’ve been in the Kaptagat for the last 20 years and without this forest, without actually staying in this area, I think I could not be where I am today. When I realized actually that the only way to perform and enjoy running is training in a good place and breathing clean air. It was a turning point for me to think of forming a foundation and actually concentrate on conservation. I adopted 130 acres of forest and that’s the start. But in our bucket list, we want to adopt a forest in every country. We fence it, we want indigenous trees in every country. Indigenous trees are actually rich in production of Oxygen,” he stated.

“It’s really critical for sportsmen and sportswomen actually to add their vocal voice in conversation of environment. A tradition here in the camp is that every athlete should plant a tree one or two. Sportsmen and sportswomen can become influencers as far as advocating against climate change and that’s a huge contribution. It can reach billions of people across the world in an easy way. Every country has its own systems of working so I trust the world is on the right direction to actually work on climate change. It is the responsibility of the governments to work together to make sure that the environment is well conserved. It is a responsibility of each individual actually to conserve the planet, conserve the environment,” he further added.

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This is not the first time when Kipchoge emphasized on plantation and conservation of forests. Kipchoge’s name was highlighted in the biennial scientific journal “Living Planet Report, 2022,” which was released on Thursday, October 13, 2022, by the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Global Conservation Organization (WWF). Kipchoge sent a message of optimism by asserting that we can still work as a group to make a difference in his characteristically uplifted voice. According to the articles in the study he co-authored, Kipchoge led Kenyans in tree-planting projects at a time when the world was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest shared multiple-posts on their Twitter account, acknowledging the efforts of the marathon runner towards the environment. The post stated that Kipchoge would be the ambassador of Kenya at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to assist in drumming up support for Kenya’s conservation efforts on mitigating effects of Climate Change in the country. The conference took place in November ,2021, at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

On September 7, 2021, Kipchoge joined a virtual event, organized by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the Stockholm Environment Institute, and telecom firm Safaricom, to celebrate the second International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies in Nairobi based on the theme ‘Healthy Air, Healthy Planet’. Kipchoge, in his statement, called on the Kenyans to plant a tree on their special day. “We must protect that which provides us with clean air, clean water and is a perfect training ground for our athletes,” he added.