Kenya’s Kipchoge makes history, busts two-hour marathon barrier

Eliud Kipchoge, marathon, Olympic Champion, International Association of Athletics Federations, two-hour marathon barrier
Eliud Kipchoge runs on his way to break the historic two hour barrier for a marathon in Vienna. Eliud Kipchoge has become the first athlete to run a marathon in less than two hours, although it will not count as a world record. The Olympic champion and world record holder from Kenya clocked 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds Saturday at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, an event set up for the attempt. Photo: PTI

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge on Saturday (October 12) made history by completing a marathon with an unofficial time of 1hr 59min 40.2sec on a special course in Prater Park, Vienna.

The Kenya man became the first ever to run a marathon in under two hours on a course prepared to make it as even as possible.

The 34-year-old already holds the men’s world record for finishing a marathon with a time of 2hr 1min 39sec set in Berlin on September 16, 2018.

This attempt by Kipchoge is his personal best as he conquered his failed attempt two years ago in Monza, Italy over 41 pacemakers and a car pacing in the front.

“I am the first man – I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited. We can make this world a beautiful world and a peaceful world. My wife and three children, I am happy for them to come and witness history,” said Kipchoge as reported by PTI.

The record-holder maintained a regular pace of 2min 50sec per kilometre while advancing 11 seconds at mid-race and crossing the finish line early.

While addressing the media earlier this week, Kipchoge said his attempt in Vienna was like “making history in this world, like the first man to go to the moon.”

“I just have to make that click in people’s minds that no human is limited,” reported PTI.

The tale of special course

Though, Kipchoge has made history, his effort would not be accounted as a world record by the International Association of Athletics Federations since the course was set up specially with banked corners to save time and avoid injuries.

The pacemakers who supported him throughout the 42.195 kilometre race included the 1500 metre Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz and former world champion Bernard Lagat.

“The course is extremely good. I’m happy with the course,” said Kipchoge, earlier this week.

According to the organisers, Chris Froome, leader of Ineos cycling team, also witnessed Kipchoge’s race in Vienna where only the organising team’s camera were allowed to film the run.

A fan, Joe Saissi, 25, from London said it was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.

The mentally strong Kipchoge tried to break the two-hour barrier while running on the Monza National Autodrome racing circuit in Italy, however, failed by just 25 seconds.

According to an analysis report by the sports experts at Vienna University, the running course was specially designed and prepped so that it takes Kipchoge mere 4.5 seconds more than a computer-stimulated completely flat and straight-path.

In total, he only had to descend 26 metres in altitude and climb 12 metres, the experts said.

The founder of the main sponsors, Ineos, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, is taking a personal interest in the challenge and himself competes in Ironman triathlons.

The world marathon record has, for the past 16 years, been contested uniquely between athletes from Kenya and Ethiopia.

The two nations are also fierce rivals for distance medals on the track. Kipchoge’s record was almost beaten last month in the Berlin marathon by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, who ran 2:01.41, just two seconds short of the official world mark.

(With inputs from agencies)

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