35-year-old Kenyan long distance runner Eliud Kipchoge completed one of sport’s impossible tasks in 2019: he ran a marathon in under 2 hours.
A video of the event shows him flanked by seven pacemakers, running the final kilometre through the Vienna’s main avenue, the Prater-Hauptallee. He surged forwards at a blistering pace of 4 minutes 34 per mile over the 26.2 mile course.
The momentousness of the occasion was not lost on the commentators as he closed in one the finish line. “We had Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969. We had Roger Bannister the four minute mile 65 years ago. Edmund Hilary, the first man to climb Everest in 1953. Eliud Kipchoge — this humble farmer, who used to run two miles to school every day and back — has the hand of history on his shoulder.”
They added that this feat wasn’t just a barrier being broken, but a challenge that had existed in Kipchoge’s head for so long. Two years previously, he’d tried to break the 2 hour mark and failed by just 25 seconds. He’s the world record holder in an ordinary marathon, which he set with a time of two hours and one minute in Berlin.
Experts have been keen to stress that the new time is not an official world record because Kipchoge did not run in race conditions. As detailed in Time, he ran in ideal weather on a flat course flanked by trees. He had special Nike shoes, with carbon fibre in the soles, and 41 pace makers, including former Olympic champions. They accompanied him at different stages along the race, rotating out in a v-formation as an additional shield from the wind. https://time.com/5707230/eliud-kipchoge/
In an interview after the race, Kipchoge wanted to tell inspire people and prove that “no human is limited. I’m expecting more athletes to run under two hours all over the world after this day.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FYdiV6zjRsTags: Kenya, running, sports