Eliud Kipchoge has become the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours, beating the mark by 20 seconds. The record which had been hanging for sixty-five years, got beaten after a great preparation by Kipchoge and his team.
The Kenyan marathon runner has indelibly recorded his name in the world of athletics by being the fastest man to finish the much talked about race. The 34-year-old ran the 26.2 miles (42.2km) marathon in Vienna, Austria in a record one hour fifty-nine minutes forty seconds; twenty seconds under the two- hour record of Britain’s Sir Roger Bannister in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge sponsored by the billionaire founder of INEOS Jim Ratcliffe.
Kipchoge’s run has not been ratified as a world record because it was not in open competition and a team of rotating pacemakers was used but it will nonetheless be remembered as one of the greatest pioneering milestones in athletics history. “This shows no-one is limited and now that I’ve done it, I am expecting more people to do it after me” said the Olympian.
The Olympic champion and the official marathon world record holder finished the INEOS Challenge one minute fifty- nine seconds under his World record timing of 2:01:39, set in Berlin, Germany in 2018. Cognizant of the fact that a dream come through is in the making and that history is about to be re-written, the pacemakers dropped back to let Kipchoge sprint over the line alone and become the fastest marathoner on Earth. A much anticipated and cheerful crowd of renowned world athletes and
colleagues; including his wife Grace and family who turned up to his races for the first time to see him run in person, greeted him at the finish line. Draped in the Kenyan flag; which is of course no stranger to marathons, Kipchoge ran through a roaring large crowd of fans in celebration in the heart of the Austrian capital, Vienna.
He told the press “this shows the positivity of sport and I want to make it a clean and interesting sport; together when we run, we can make it a beautiful world”. Kipchoge praised the pacemakers describing them as among the best athletes in the world and
lauded their participation. Even his coaches delivered him water and energy gels by bike. These aids are not allowed under the rules of the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, which is among the reasons that the race is not IAAF recognised.
Even though his achievement will not be recognised as the official marathon world record, it took athletes over six decades to
break Sir Roger Bannister’s record.“I’m feeling good. After Sir Roger Bannister made history, it took another 65 years”, said an excited Kipchoge. The courageous marathon legend added, ‘’this shows no-one is limited.” The four-time London Marathon winner missed out by 25 seconds in a previous attempt held at the Italian Grand Prix circuit in Monza in 2017.
Kipchoge’s coach, Patrick Sang, said “everything went perfectly right” in this attempt. “He has inspired all of us and shown that we can stretch the limits in our life,” he added. Sang went on saying that it is a challenge to other young athletes and that they can perform better than they think.
Kipchoge repeatedly compared a potential sub-two-hour marathon to humanity’s first journey onto the surface of the moon. He
noted that the pressure was very high on him and further revealed he received some encouraging phone call the night before the event from President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.
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