One Catholic chapel now becomes Eliud Kipchoge’s ‘pacemakers’ in prayer
It wasn’t your usual Church service at St Paul’s Catholic University Chapel on Sunday.
The brilliant choir stood out, resplendent in unique, black, INEOS 1:59 branded polo shirts. And when the priest in charge, Fr Stephen Mbugua, offered his opening prayer, it was evident that the Special Intention Mass was indeed a special one.
“Today, we pray for our world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge,” Fr Mbugua, invited the congregation.
The Mass at the University of Nairobi-domiciled chapel, was organised by running enthusiasts, led by Victoria Kaigai, who gave a fitting tribute to Kipchoge during the service, breaking down what it means for the Olympic champion to run the marathon in under two hours this weekend in Vienna.
“He is hoping to accomplish what no man in the world has ever done. He will be running 42.4 kilometres in one hours, 59 minutes,” Kaigai, an avid runner and huge fan of Kipchoge, broke it down.
“To accomplish this feat, he needs to run each kilometre at around 2.83 minutes, which is like running from Westlands to the Central Business District in five minutes. This will push his body and his mind to unknown levels and if he ever needed God, and Mother Mary and all the Saints, this is the time — that is why we are here, praying hard. As Eliud also famously said, ‘you cannot train alone and expect to make a fast time… 100 percent of me is nothing compared to one percent of the team.’ We are, therefore, going to be Eliud’s pacemakers in prayer.”
Kipchoge’s camp, led by head coach Patrick Sang, expressed their gratitude to the St Paul’s congregation for Sunday’s gesture.
“We also pray for those people of God who took time to pray for Eliud’s mission. We don’t take for granted such a gesture. Share our gratitude with the congregation,” Sang said.
In his homily, Fr Mbugua drew from the morning’s first and second readings (Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4 and 2 Timothy 1:6-8; 13-14) and the Gospel (Luke 17:5-10) to extol the virtues of faith and working for love and for joy.
It is such joy that Kipchoge hopes the world will celebrate when he crosses the finish line at The Prater in Vienna on Saturday before the clock strikes two hours, his mantra being “no human is limited.”
In the remaining five days, organisers in Vienna hope to tie up all the loose ends ahead of the challenge, with Kipchoge’s travel plans heavily reliant on the weather forecast for Saturday.
The organisers should, hopefully, make a final announcement on Monday on the timings of Kipchoge’s run which, weather-permitting and ceteris paribus, should be from 8am on Saturday, which will be 7am in Vienna. It’s all systems go now!