Eliud Kipchoge Makes History – But Not The Record Books!
This month, Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge completed a full marathon in less than 2 hours; making history, but not the record books!
The long-distance runner covered an entire circuit of 26.2 miles in an earth-shattering 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
However, this monumental achievement won’t be recorded in the annals of history, at least, not officially.
This is because the race, which took place in Austria, Vienna on the 12th of October, is not classified as an open event.
Additionally, the runner utilized a team of rotating pacemakers and was provided with refreshments on the hoof, contrary to regulations stipulated by the IAA, the body governing world athletics.
The Ineos 1.59 challenge was designed specifically to try and smash the 2-hour marathon barrier and had millions lavished upon it.
It took place in Vienna’s Prater park, comprising of 4.4 laps of almost 6 miles, where the venue was handpicked for its evenness.
Almost everything about the race was stage-managed. The event, supported by Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, was specifically designed to replicate marathon conditions; even down to the cheering crowd!
No expense was spared in the staging of the event; from the sweeping of the track to the input of Ineos’s cycling aerodynamics boffins (another passion project of the petrochemical billionaire Ratcliffe).
Technology also assisted the Kenyan athlete, with the pace car beaming a laser onto the track ahead, keeping Kipchoge informed of his target pace.
And the shoes? A white pair of Nike Vaporflys was the winning formula, also donned by Kipchoge’s entire team – albeit, in pink!
The sneaker has now been worn in the top five fastest marathons in the world, within a 13-month timescale. Their success is so huge it’s even raised a concern about their legitimacy in running!
At 34 years of age, Kipchoge is a veteran runner, with many records behind him.
He is the current London Marathon champion, a title he has won on several occasions previously, including in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
He is also the winner of the Olympics marathon title, in Brazil 2016.
And it is not the first time the Kenyan has attempted the sub-2-hour marathon.
He also holds the official record for the fastest marathon speed, recorded in Berlin, coming in at 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds in 2018. Previously, missed his target speed by a mere 25 seconds at Monza, Italy, in the preceding year.
Given all his success, it may surprise some to know that Kipchoge did not enter the world of serious competitive running until relatively late on – at the age of 16 after he had graduated high school.
This was the year that he met the Olympic medalist Patrick Sang, the man who was to be his trainer.
Breaking the 2-hour barrier for a marathon is an epic achievement for any runner, but is surely far from the last record that this legendary athlete will set!