Daniel Mateiko’s inspiring journey to stardom & Eliud Kipchoge’s influence on him

27th May 2024

Mateiko recently stunned a star-studded field to win the 10000m title at the Prefontaine Classic, which also served as Kenya’s trials for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Daniel Mateiko. PHOTO| NN Running Team
Daniel Mateiko. PHOTO| NN Running Team
  • Mateiko was born and raised in Mount Elgon.
  • He was forced by his sister to start running after he completed his high school education.
  • He has since joined Eliud Kipchoge's camp in Kaptagat.

Over two decades ago, in the hummocks of Mount Elgon, a young boy sat by an analogue television and watched in admiration as Eliud Kipchoge conquered the world after overcoming the likes of Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele.

Little did this kid know that one day he would not only train with Kipchoge but also make a name for himself in the competitive sporting industry.

Daniel Kibet Mateiko’s journey from a tiny village in Mount Elgon to stardom is one of sacrifice, hard work and determination to succeed.

SportPesa News takes a look at the inspiring story of the man who is seen by many as the next big thing.

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Mateiko was born on 4 August 1998 in Kenya’s Western region. Although his parents were also runners, they did not have the impact that he is already making.

According to Mateiko, his father used to compete in the 10000m race and even won some of the local races.

Unlike most Kenyan athletes such as Faith Kipyegon and David Rudisha, Mateiko started training after completing high school.

However, the decision to run was not his as he was forced by her sister Valentine Chepkwemoi Mateiko to venture into the sport.

“Yes, my sister [had won bronze] at the world juniors in Oregon, but I didn’t think I could run.

But she insisted, and she is the one who forced me to run, and that’s how I discovered I can become an athlete,” he was quoted on the Olympics website

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Eliud Kipchoge’s influence

Besides her sister, Mateiko reveals that the two-time Olympic Games champion Eliud Kipchoge has played a crucial role in his life.

The 25-year-old divulges that since he started training with Kipchoge under the guidance of Coach Patrick Sang, he has become a better runner.

“I am in the right place, training with my mentor [Kipchoge], he trains me physically but also mentally to be able to deal with the challenges of sport. He teaches me a lot.

He teaches me that sport is not about today, but what you do today will determine what you will be tomorrow and in the future,” noted Mateiko.

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Learning from failure

Mateiko’s journey has been full of disappointments but that has not stopped him from trying to be a better athlete.

He failed to make it into Kenya’s 10000m team for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and registered DNFs (Did Not Finish) in a couple of marathons including at the 2024 London Marathon.

According to him, his best lesson concerning failure came at the 2023 Chicago Marathon where he helped the late Kelvin Kiptum set a new marathon world record of 2:00.35.

He says that despite failing to achieve his target that day, he was happy to contribute to Kiptum’s success. 

The 2024 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon winner says that the struggles he has had on the track and road races have made him stronger.

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“If you fail, you learn more, you learn that there are a few things to improve. I am a human being, I have weaknesses. I like the place where I encounter more obstacles,” Mateiko told the NN Running Team.

However, just like his mentor Kipchoge, he remained disciplined and put more effort in training which has eventually yielded results.

Mateiko recently stunned a star-studded field that had experienced runners like Kibiwott Kandie and Nicholas Kipkorir to win the 10000m title at the Prefontaine Classic, which also served as Kenya’s trials for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Huge task in Paris

Mateiko, who has a 10000m personal best of 26:50.81, now has the responsibility to bring home the elusive Olympic gold medal over the distance which Kenya last won in 1968.

Although it will be a difficult task, Mateiko has all the ingredients needed to finally break Kenya’s curse in the discipline which has been dominated by Ugandans in recent years.

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