Boston Marathon Champ Evans Chebet on Paris Olympics Dreams, Kipchoge, and Kelvin Kiptum

Boston Marathon Champ Evans Chebet on Paris Olympics Dreams, Kipchoge, and Kelvin Kiptum

Martin Moses
updated at April 11, 2024 at 6:55 AM
  • Evans Chebet will return to the streets of Boston, looking for a third consecutive title
  • Chebet beat double Olympic champion, Eliud Kipchoge, among others, in last year's race
  • Sports Brief caught up with Chebet for a discussion on a myriad of topics related to his career

In a country that has produced world-class marathoners and record holders like Eliud Kipchoge and the late Kelvin Kiptum, other elite runners like Evans Chebet tend to go under the radar.

However, Chebet's CV is the stuff of dreams for many of his peers.

He has won three World Marathon Majors, conquering the Boston Marathon in 2022 before successfully defending the same title last year, and also won the New York Marathon in 2022.

Evans Chebet, Boston Marathon, Eliud Kipchoge, Kelvin Kiptum, Paris 2024 Olympics
Evans Chebet celebrates after winning the 2023 Boston Marathon. Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe.
Source: Getty Images

Chebet: I am ready for Boston Marathon 2024

On April 15, Chebet will return to the all-too-familiar course in Boston, looking to become only the second person this century to win three consecutive titles in the Massachusetts capital.

"The competition is tough. I am the person with a target on his back. Every other athlete will come with the idea of beating me and denying me another chance to win the title, but I feel good and I am ready," he tells Sports Brief.

How Chebet started running

Like many rise-to-stardom stories, Chebet's journey to the top wasn't rosy. It took quite a few turns to establish himself as a marathoner.

He was born and bred in Elgeyo Marakwet, where he attended Kondabilet Primary School. It was here that he honed his love for athletics, following his older cousin, Steven Kibet, to and from school while running.

Kibet competed up to national levels in school games, inspiring Chebet to take the sport seriously.

He started with the road races, competing in the 10K and half-marathons, but struggled to make an impact. In 2014, three years after making his senior debut, he won his first marathon in Iten, which was the game changer.

"I never used to perform well in half marathons or shorter distances, but I realised I would excel in longer distances."

However, he would have to wait for five more years for another win when he won the 2019 Buenos Aires Marathon in Argentina. In between, Chebet collected a couple of podium places, including a third-place finish at the 2016 Berlin Marathon.

The win in South America sparked a purple patch for the father of three, whose only loss since then was a fourth-place finish in the 2021 London Marathon.

Chebet and the Paris 2024 Olympics

Chebet's dream was to represent Kenya at the 2024 Paris Olympics. He didn't make it into the initial list, but following the tragic passing of Kiptum on February 11, a space has opened up.

"I hope to make it to Kenya's Team for the Paris Olympics, but again, if the selectors choose someone else, I will respect their decision."

Chebet was surprisingly not included in Kenya's provisional squad to Paris, with Athletics Kenya selecting Kipchoge, Benson Kipruto, Timothy Kiplagat, Munyao Alexander, and Vincent Ngetich.

Chebet on Kelvin Kiptum's demise and legacy

Kenya's team to Paris will miss Kiptum, whose rising star was dimmed by a grisly road accident along the Eldoret-Kaptagat highway on February 11. At only 24, Kiptum had only run three marathons but had managed to obliterate Kipchoge's previous world record, clocking 2:00:35 to win the Chicago Marathon last year.

It was a death that was felt worldwide, with World Athletics President, Sebastian Coe, joining Kenya's President, William Ruto, for his burial. Chebet, like everyone else, is still at pains to put in words the death that robbed the country a star of many years to come.

"Kiptum was someone who motivated me a lot despite having run fewer races than me. I expected that he would run under two hours very soon. His loss was a huge blow to us."

Chebet's training routine and importance of family

Training for and competing in a marathon is not easy, given the long hours one has to put in. Chebet runs at least 32 kilometres daily in training and uses select days to train speedwork and legwork. But even after all the training, pre-race jitters, and the pressure to execute a perfect race are still a thing - even for an experienced runner like himself.

The double Boston champion often counters this by digging deep into why he is doing all this. His motivation comes from his young children, who sometimes wonder why he was to be away for long periods of time.

"I do this for my family. They are my why and motivation. They support me, pray for me and give me the space to perform at my top level. When they grow old, I want them to look back and understand why their dad was doing this."

He has three children - two boys aged eight and seven, and a daughter aged four.

Once the gun goes off at the line, Chebet, who you will possibly find tending to his farms when he is not training, discloses that his secret is to remain with the leading pack as long as he can.

"I always want to be in the leading pack when we hit the 25K or 30K mark. Once you are left behind, it is very difficult to catch up with the rest. I normally make my move at around the 33K mark, depending on how I am feeling."

Chebet on Eliud Kipchoge

Last year, he beat a star-studded line-up led by Kipchoge to retain his title. Kipchoge, who was debuting in Boston, had a bad day in office, finishing sixth.

Despite the win over the double Olympic champion, Chebet lavished praise on Kipchoge, singling out his discipline as a critical factor in his major successes.

"I admire Kipchoge's discipline and advice. Every time we meet, he always says the right things that motivate me towards my goal. Even when he loses a race, he always finds a way to pick himself up and keep going."

It is the same discipline that Chebet has carried with him all these years in his career and wants any aspiring marathoner to subscribe to the same thought process.

"It doesn't matter how hard you train; you must be disciplined. Listen to the coach and be ready to learn. Discipline isn't just about being well-mannered but also about how strict you are with your routine and schedule. For example, once you get back from training, you need to rest and recover, not hopping around doing unnecessary things."

Chebet's parting shot is of his aspirations. He had indicated that he would return to New York in November if he failed to make it to the Olympic team.

The 35-year-old plans to better his personal best of 2:03:00, which is the 10th fastest time in history, as captured by World Athletics figures.

2024 Boston Marathon details

The 2024 Boston Marathon will take place on April 15. Chebet will renew his rivalry with last year's runners-up, Tanzania's Gabriel Geay.

The World Athletics Platinum Label race has also attracted the reigning Valencia marathon winner, Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia. Lemma is only one of the four athletes in history to have run a sub-2:02 race.

Last year's winner, Hellen Obiri, will headline the women's field.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
Eliud KipchogeKenya