Marathon living legend Eliud Kipchoge is flattered having been feted with the highest civilian award in the land.
In a post on his official Twitter handle, elated Kipchoge thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta for the honour.
“My heartfelt gratitude to President of the Republic of Kenya for the highest award ever. Thank you, Mr President, thank you Kenya, ” he wrote.
My heartfelt gratitude to President of the Republic of Kenya for the highest award ever.
Thank you Mr. president, thank you Kenya. 🇰🇪 pic.twitter.com/77Nhd48oZS
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH🇰🇪 (@EliudKipchoge) October 21, 2019
The athlete was feted with Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (E.G.H.) award during the Mashujaa celebrations in Mombasa County on Sunday.
Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya is the highest category of presidential awards which is further divided into three classes: Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (C.G.H.), Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (E.G.H.) and Moran of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (M.G.H.).
The President praised Kipchoge for becoming the first person in recorded history to run a 42-kilometre marathon in less than two hours inspiring the world that no human is limited.
“In honour of all the heroes past, present and future I wish to invite and to recognize Eliud Kipchoge with the Elder of the Order of golden heart,” said the president.
The award lists are made by the President on the advice of the National Honours and Awards Committee.
Regarded as the greatest marathoner of all time, the 34-year-old clocked 1:59:40.2 at the INEOS 1:59 challenge in Austria’s capital Vienna. The marathon was sponsored by Ineos Group owner and co-founder Jim Ratcliffe.
Kipchoge missed the mark by 26 seconds two years ago in Monza, Italy, during his first attempt to break the two-hour barrier.
In April this year, Kipchoge won his forth London marathon after clocking 2:02:37 to set a new course record and run the second-fastest marathon of all time.
He becomes the first sportsman to be conferred with the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart award.
Some of the government officials who have previously received the award include Deputy President William Ruto, Speakers of Parliament as well as various Cabinet Secretaries.
Some of the privileges Kipchoge and others who have received state honours are entitled to, according to the National Heroes Act, include:
- Invitations to national and community functions as a state guest.
- Having cultural festivals, concerts, exhibitions and sports events organised in their honour.
- Having towns, institutions, open parks in urban areas, roads, streets, estates, stamps and notable landmarks named after them.
- Award of medals, insignia, commendations, certificates and such other commemorative as may be determined by the Heroes Council from time to time.
- Issuance of such postage stamps, scarves, mementos, utensils, apparel and artefacts as may be determined by the Council from time to time.
- Publication of books depicting their respective roles in Kenya’s history or the social life of the society, which shall be part of the educational curriculum.
- Being accorded financial assistance from the National Heroes Fund where their economic circumstances warrant such assistance.
In addition, the government may, from time to time, accord national heroes who are in need of assistance:
- The highest attainable standard of healthcare services, including reproductive healthcare
- Accessible and adequate housing and reasonable standards of sanitation;
- Adequate food of acceptable quality;
- Clean and safe water in adequate quantities;
- Social security;
- Free education for their dependants of school-going age up to tertiary level;
- Free transport to public functions to which they are invited within the country; and
- Employment opportunities for their dependents who have relevant qualifications.