Athletics: Kipchoge runs unofficial marathon in under two hours

Athletics: Kipchoge runs unofficial marathon in under two hours

Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder from Kenya, attempts to run a marathon in under tw
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder, runs during his attempt to run a marathon in under two hours in Vienna, Austria, Oct 12, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger)

VIENNA: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge made athletics history on Saturday (Oct 12) when he became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours although his remarkable effort will not be recognised by the sport's governing body.

The Olympic marathon champion and world record holder completed a course around Vienna's Prater Park in 1 hour 59 minutes 40.2 seconds on a cool, misty and windless autumnal morning.

Guided by rotating seven-man teams of pacesetters, many of themselves renowned athletes, and an electric pacecar which shone green lasers onto the track, Kipchoge averaged around 2.50 minutes per km.

He reached the halfway mark in 59.35 seconds, 11 seconds inside the target, and ran remarkably consistently with his one-kilometre times fluctuating between 2.48 and 2.52 seconds.

For the last kilometre, the pacemakers and car peeled away and Kipchoge pointed to the crowd and smiled as he completed the run.

Kipchoge, who before the race compared the achievement to landing on the moon, said it was the biggest athletics milestone since Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile barrier in 1954.

"I am feeling good, after Roger Bannister it took another 65 years to make history," he said. "Now I've gone under two hours to inspire other people and show the world that nobody is limited."

"I can say I'm tired. It was a hard run. Remember, the pacemakers are among the best athletes in the world, I appreciate them for doing the job."

"It means a lot for Kenya," he added.

The IAAF has said it would not recognise the run as an official record because it was not in open competition and it used in and out pacemakers although its president Sebastian Coe had welcomed the record attempt.

The run, organised and funded by the British chemical company INEOS and dubbed the INEOS 1.59 challenge, was Kipchoge's second attempt to break the barrier, having missed out by 26 seconds in Monza two hours ago.

Source: Reuters

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