Eliud Kipchoge: "It makes me incredibly happy to see the world running as one today"
Well that's exactly what happened this weekend as normal people across the world ran with Olympic champions in the 'Run as One' worldwide virtual relay marathon.
Teams of four completed a marathon by running 10.5k each, and just by entering you were in with a chance to run alongside some of the biggest names in sport.
But it wasn't just running superstars who stepped up, Tottenham Hotspur football club, Olympic triathlon gold medallist from Germany Jan Frodeno and Spanish sky runner/ultramarathon/daredevil Kilian Jornet also got involved.
The event was organised by NN Running Team, an international team of elite long-distance runners managed by a company in the Netherlands.
Kipchoge, whose historic sub-two hour run in Vienna last October broke new ground, teamed up with amateur runners from Brazil.
The Kenyan ran 10.5k in 31:28 seconds, not the fastest time on the leaderboard, but this event was about much more than running fastest or coming first.
"It makes me incredibly happy to see the world running as one this weekend," said Kipchoge the day before his run.
"Today I ran for my Brazilian team," he posted on Instagram after his 10.5km run, "but together we have all run as one. Runners from all over the world have joined us and showed how ours is a running world."
"Good luck everybody who is taking part today," said Kipchoge as he signed off on Sunday with many more runners still to come.
Eliud Kipchoge's gift to the world, and Tokyo 2020 to come!
Eliud Kipchoge's gift to the world, and Tokyo 2020 to come!You would have thought that breaking two hours for the marathon would be a fitting way to end a career. But not for Kipchoge who says he will defend his Olympic title at Tokyo 2020. Hear from the man himself and his wife Grace Sugut, plus coach Patrick Sang, pacemaker Bernard Lagat and Kenya's deputy president William Ruto on what his Vienna marathon challenge means for sport and humanity as a whole.
The secrets behind Eliud Kipchoge's winning mentality
Kenenisa Bekele runs on 'field of dreams'
Another world-record holder and three-time Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele ran with Joris, Stephen, Andy and Tharkun from the Netherlands.
The Ethiopian ran his 10.5km in 32:57 on his own track that he built in Sululta, 25 minutes outside the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
The 5000m and 10,000m World record-holder built a six-lane all-weather track which is home to many athletes training and dreaming of Olympic glory.
They call it Bekele's ‘field of dreams’.
"It was a great pleasure to run my 10.5k as part of the MA RA TH ON challenge on my own track in Sululta," he posted.
"I was running my laps while my family was cheering for me. My teammates from different countries were always in my mind during this run, such a great day!"
Ethiopia's national hero was disappointed that the 2020 London Marathon was postponed as he was ready to run against Eliud Kipchoge.
“To run against Eliud Kipchoge…the two of us, having prepared well. I'm sure something could have happened on that day." - Bekele told Olympic Channel exclusively, read more here.
According to media reports in Spain, we may see this dream duel happen at the Valencia 2020 marathon in December.
He had this conversation with one of his elated teammates who can now say:
'I ran on the same team with the great Kenenisa Bekele!'
Geoffrey Kamworor: NN Running Team fastest time
It was hardly any surprise that half-marathon world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor put in the fastest time, going 10.6 km in 30:08s.
This time Eliud Kipchoge wasn't there to greet him at the finish line like he did at the 2019 New York marathon, but Kamworor was pleased with the run.
The Kenyan ran with a team from the USA.
Kilian Jornet has to start again
Kilian Jornet does many things - like ultramarathons and literally running up and down mountains.
He is said to hold the fastest known time for the ascent and descent of Mount Everest for example.
For most of us, running 10.5km is a struggle, but when Jornet's Strava App told him that he had only run 10.49km making his entry invalid, he said ok:
I'll start again.
"It’s been actually pretty fun this MA RA TH ON!" Jornet posted, despite having to do it twice.
"It’s been kind of fun when I did my loop and upload to stava and saw it was 0,01 short 🙄 (10,49km) so I went for a second lap that this time counted for the challenge 😅 the More Kilometers More Fun is always right so it ended up being a great tempo run at this time far for any races!"
The second time 'round he clocked 32:25s after 10.6 km.