What Happened to Eliud Kipchoge at the 2020 London Marathon?

The world’s best marathoner explains why he had an uncharacteristically off day.

Eliud Kipchoge said he experienced an issue with his right ear during the London Marathon, which led to his subpar performance.

In cold and rainy conditions, the world-record holder finished eighth in 2:06:49, more than a minute behind winner Shura Kitata of Ethiopia. He began to lose contact with the leaders with about 5K left to run.

After the race, a visibly upset Kipchoge explained what occurred.

“I started off well. But I just got a slight problem with my right ear. It got blocked, and I tried to do all necessary, I tried to hold back, but it was not possible. But this is sport. Today you are up, tomorrow you are down.

“I am truly disappointed. I always wanted to win to show people you can always win if you focus yourself and always get good results. I’m sorry about this, but that’s how sport is.”

“His right ear got fully blocked. From then he also didn’t go for the drinks anymore, and it somehow affected the whole system,” Valentijn Trouw, Kipchoge’s manager, said via text message.

While some feared it might spell the early signs of a demise for Kipchoge, the 35-year-old said he would return to the top level.

“Sport is unpredictable, but you know what they say: If you want to enjoy sport then you accept the results. So I accept the result and congratulate all finishers.”

Asked if he would be back running the marathon, he said, “I am going back and hopefully I will come next year here in London and the Olympic Games. It’s not the end of the world.”

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