Eliud Kipchoge, Olympic marathon champ: ‘I wanted to run in a polluted city’

Eliud Kipchoge
Getty Images

Eliud Kipchoge‘s choice of venue for his first race since winning the Olympic marathon may have surprised some.

New Delhi.

Kipchoge won a half marathon in the Indian capital in 59 minutes, 44 seconds, on Sunday. Then he explained why he ran in a city with air pollution chronicled by worldwide media this month as exponentially higher than permissible limits in some areas.

“I wanted to run in a city that is polluted and show people that there is no need to worry,” Kipchoge said, according to the English-language Indian Express newspaper. “The other day, someone told me that they would not allow their children to train in such conditions. But I think after my race they will allow their children to jog. The conditions were good.”

Kipchoge capped a year that included his fourth and fifth major marathon wins in London and at the Rio Olympics.

However, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele ran the year’s fastest 26.2 miler at the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 25, a 2:03:03 that was two seconds faster than Kipchoge’s London win.

Kipchoge and Bekele could go head-to-head at the London Marathon in April for a second straight year.

MORE: Who were the fastest U.S. marathoners of 2016?