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Meet the British billionaire bankrolling Eliud Kipchoge’s run

The man bankrolling Eluid Kipchoge’s quest to set a new marathon record recently attempted to purchase English Premier League club Chelsea.

But Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reportedly refused to even make it to the negotiating table leaving the potential buyer to settle for French Ligue 1 club Nice for an estimated Sh1.4 billion. Chelsea had an asking price of Sh315 billion.

He is Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, reportedly worth about Sh14 trillion (£10 billion), according to Forbes. Ineos alone has turn over of Sh5.6 trillion.

What else is he?

1. He was born in England some 66 years ago to a middle-class family. He went on to graduate with a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Birmingham in 1974.

2. He is the co-founder and co-owner of chemical powerhouse IENOS Group, the firm spearheading Kipchoge’s effort of running the 42-km race with a sub-two hours timing for the first time in athletics history. The company mainly produces and sells chemicals.


3. He boasts several other interests including an estimated Sh1.4 billion stake in French club Nice and also owns the world-famous cycling team Sky which has been renamed the Ineos team, and another football team in Switzerland.

4. His move to fund Kipchoge’s 1:59 bid enhances his quest to venture into sports business, as his firm Global Sports Communications unveiled the NN Running Team. Partnering with Kipchoge is also seen as a marketing tactic.

5. He can reportedly be mean. He was reported by the English media as having once requested his neighbours to contribute towards installation of internet and has in the past been accused of relocating to Monaco in France so as to avoid paying tax on earnings. He’s been nicknamed Dr No.

6. He owns a beach house in New Forest valued at Sh756 million.

7. Ratcliffe wedded Amanda Townson in 1985, before divorcing in 1995. They had two sons. He also has a daughter from his second wife, Alicia, whom he married in the late 1990s.

8. He owns a super-yacht called the Hampshire II that cost Sh16 billion (£130 million). It has a swimming pool, helipad and room for 14 guests.