Eliud Kipchoge Hits Back as 'Super' Shoes Face Ban

  • World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge responded to critics after it emerged that World Athletics could ban the Nike Vaporfly shoes which he wore in his historic INEOS 159 Challenge run in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019.

    With World Athletics (formerly IAAF) reportedly set to convene a panel to look into any unfair advantages the shoe may offer, Kipchoge argued that it was not the shoes that ran the distance, insisting he trained hard for the challenge.

    “They are fair. I trained hard. Technology is growing and we can’t deny it - we must go with technology.

    “In Formula 1, Pirelli issues the tyres to all the cars but Mercedes are the best one. Why? It’s the engine. It’s the person. So for those that are against the shoe, it’s the person who is running, not the shoe. It’s the person driving, not the person making the tyres,” Kipchoge told UK publication Telegraph Sport in an exclusive interview published on Wednesday, January 15.

    Eliud Kipchoge heads for the finish line at the INEOS 159 Challenge in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019

    The iconic athlete spoke at his NN Running team training camp in Kaptagat, Uasin Gishu County.

    Kipchoge made history with the INEOS challenge as he became the first man to run the 42-kilometer marathon distance in under two hours, finishing with a time of 1:59:40.2.

    According to UK daily The Telegraph,  the World Athletics panel constituted to look into the footwear case would be made up of sports science experts, former athletes, ethics and law professionals.

    Critics of the Vaporfly range of shoes argued that the soles which include foam and carbon fibre work as springs offering runners undue advantage.

    Reports indicate that the panel could rule to limit the permitted length of a shoe's midsole, potentially locking out Vaporfly shoes from professional competitions.

    Another Kenyan Brigid Koskei wore the shoes as well when she broke the Women's Marathon World Record in Chicago on October 13, 2019.

    Koskei finished the race in a time of 2:14:04, shaving 81 seconds off the previous record held by British athlete Paula Radcliffe.

    Current rules on footwear in professional athletics state that the shoes must be "reasonably available" to everyone and not give runners an "unfair advantage".

    Eliud Kipchoge at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award ceremony on December 15, 2019