Anyone who completes a marathon deserves complete respect and admiration, no matter how long it took them to do it. However, professional Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge wanted to push himself just a little bit harder and little bit further to see if he could be the first person in history to run a sub-two hour marathon. As of this morning, he actually did it, setting a new world record in the process.
He did it with 20 seconds to spare. Running as part of the Ineos Challenge in Vienna, Austria on Saturday morning, Kipchoge crossed the finish line with 20 seconds to spare, officially clocking in at 1:59:40. He was immediately embraced by his wife, friends, and other supporters who were keen to celebrate the momentous moment.
Kipchoge chose to run in Vienna for a reason. Not only had the roads along the course Kipchoge followed been recently paved to facilitate better running conditions, but the course was largely flat, having only 2.4km of incline throughout. That’s a blessing for runners, especially those aiming for speed. The optimal weather conditions and air quality also played a part in his decision to run there, and it seemed to be a good choice!
He’s incredibly proud of his achievement, and rightfully so. “I am feeling good. After Roger Bannister in 1954 it took another 63 years, I tried and I did not get it—65 years, I am the first man—I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited,” Kipchoge told the BBC after his run.
Kipchoge missed out on his last attempt by 26 seconds. Back in 2017, Kipchoge made his first attempt at running a marathon—that’s 26.2 miles, by the way—in less than two hours at the Monza grand prix circuit in Italy as part of Nike’s Breaking2 project. His time was 2:00:25, just missing the mark.
Unfortunately, it won’t count in the official record books. Because Kipchoge’s run was supported by 41 pacemakers, who kept him on track and also provided gel packs and drinks every three miles, it’s not officially supported by the International Associations of Athletics Foundations (IAAF). Neither Kipchoge’s first attempt nor this one counted, but he still made history.
Kipchoge still holds the official world record as well. He ran the 2018 Berlin marathon in 2:01:39, which is still the fastest ever time, and that one IS sanctioned by IAAF. Something tells me we might be seeing an even lower number go down in the books soon. Either way, Eliud Kipchoge is an incredible athlete who’s living proof of just how amazing human beings are.
Eliud Kipchoge went through the marathon finish line in just one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
His wife had never seen him race in person before, she has now! ❤
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 12, 2019
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