Eliud Kipchoge trains ahead of his bid for a third Olympic marathon gold. TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images

With less than three months to go before he attempts to win a third consecutive Olympic marathon gold, Eliud Kipchoge says he is "feeling good" as he completes his preparations for the Paris 2024 Games.

The 39-year-old, who ran the first sub-two-hour marathon in October 2019, will return to the French capital where he won the world 5,000m title as a teenager.

In 2003, Kipchoge was just 18 when he outsprinted future Olympic champions Hicham El-Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele to secure his first global triumph. Ten years later, he began his dominance of the marathon with victory in Hamburg.

"Paris is where my life started in athletics 20 years ago." - Eliud Kipchoge

Kipchoge, who won gold at Rio 2016 and the delayed Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021, is based at the famed Kaptagat training camp along with the cream of Kenyan running talent. Faith Kipyegon is among them as she aims for a third consecutive Olympic gold in the 1500m. The 30-year-old may also run the 5,000m having won both events at last year's Budapest World Championships.

Faith Kipyegon training in Eldoret's Kipchoge Keino Stadium. TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images
Faith Kipyegon training in Eldoret's Kipchoge Keino Stadium. TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images

The dirt tracks Kipchoge and the other the long-distance runners usually train on are out of bounds due to torrential rains in recent weeks. They have had to switch to local roads with the veteran leading a group of athletes for a 30km run, his longest of the week.

He sets off at 6am, wearing a cap and gloves in the chill of the morning, accompanied by stars and hopefuls seeking to attract attention from talent scouts. On the hilly course, coaches Patrick Sang and Brimin Kipruto - himself a steeplechase Olympic gold medallist - travel alongside by car to shield the runners from the trucks and minibus taxis which dominate the road.

An hour and 40 minutes later, Kipchoge completes his session with just six others. Afterwards, he tells AFP, "Everything is going well. I'm feeling good. But I think the next months will be more interesting."

In Paris, he could become the first athlete to win three Olympic marathons with Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980) also claiming consecutive triumphs. Kipchoge claims the Olympics are "crucial" although he goes to the French capital having suffered two defeats in his last three races. Kipchoge blamed "fatigue" for his 10th place in Tokyo in March, adding, "I'm old enough to handle any setback. I know sport is not about performing every day."

Kipchoge leads a speed session in Kaptagat.  TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images
Kipchoge leads a speed session in Kaptagat. TONY KARUMBA/AFP via Getty Images

The favourite for the Olympic marathon would have been Kelvin Kiptum, but the world record holder was killed in a car crash in February. In his absence, Kipchoge carries the bulk of Kenya's hopes once more although recent London Marathon winner Alexander Mutiso Munyao also possesses medal chances.

Despite Kipchoge's preference for flat courses, against the hilly one being employed in Paris, he insists he is more concerned about his physical condition than anything else. "I prepare specifically on the hills and downhills but generally, I want to be fit enough. I'm taking one step at a time," he stated.

The view among his training partners is that the marathon hero is ready to produce the goods on the biggest stage of all. Daniel Mateiko, who won the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February but failed to finish last month in London, said, "His mind is already in Paris."

Victor Chumo, one of the pacemakers for Kipchoge's historic sub-two-hour run in Vienna, revealed, "Eliud is very consistent... but the way he is really focusing on Paris, it's something else. He is more aggressive than in previous years. The way he trains, the way he rests, he is reporting to the camp earlier than before... That shows he is going for something special."

The Paris 2024 men's marathon is scheduled for the penultimate day of the Games, on Saturday 10 August.