Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge on Saturday made history, busting the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon on a specially prepared course in a huge Vienna park. The Olympic champion clocked the run in 1hr 59min 40.2sec.
34-year-old Kipchoge already holds the men’s world record for the distance with a time of 2hr 01 min 39sec, which he set in the flat Berlin marathon on September 16, 2018.
“I am the first man – I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited,” said the history-making Kipchoge.
“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.”
Maintaining a very regular pace at around 2:50 minutes per kilometre, he passed the finish line gesturing and smiling.
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH🇰🇪 (@EliudKipchoge) October 12, 2019
Kipchoge told reporters earlier this week that his attempt in the Austrian capital was about “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,” he had said.
However, because of the nature of the event the International Association of Athletics Federations would not consider this time as a world record.
The running surface had been partly re-tarred and readied with other features such as a banked corner that could save time and avoid injury.
Pacemakers took turns to support him throughout the 42.195-kilometre (26.219-miles) race. They included 1,500-metre Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz and former world champion Bernard Lagat.
The course included a 4.3 kilometre-long straight alley, which the Kenyan ran up and down several times amid dry but foggy weather.
Kipchoge already tried in May 2017 to break the two-hour barrier, running on the Monza National Autodrome racing circuit in Italy, failing narrowly in 2hr 00min 25sec.
But this time he said before the race that he was mentally stronger and more confident.
The course had been prepared so that it should take Kipchoge just about 4.5 seconds more than on a computer-simulated completely flat and straight path.
In total, he only had to descend 26 metres in altitude and climb 12 metres.
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.