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Eliud Kipchoge Becomes First to Run Marathon in Under 2 Hours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2019

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge (white jersey) runs during his attempt to bust the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon on October 12 2019 in Vienna. - Kipchoge holds the men's world record for the distance with a time of 2hr 01min 39sec, which he set in the flat Berlin marathon on September 16, 2018.
He 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. (Photo by HERBERT NEUBAUER / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by HERBERT NEUBAUER/APA/AFP via Getty Images)
HERBERT NEUBAUER/Getty Images

Eliud Kipchoge made good on his ambition to be the first person to run a marathon in under two hours, with the Kenyan completing the 1:59 Ineos Challenge in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds.

Kipchoge, the Olympic and world champion, made history at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday. The four-time winner of the London Marathon finally achieved the feat after he finished 26 seconds short when he last attempted it at Monza in 2017.

Team INEOS @TeamINEOS

INCREDIBLE! @EliudKipchoge writes his name into the history books, becoming the first human to run a sub two-hour marathon. #INEOS159 #NoHumanIsLimited https://t.co/Nm01Qx3yU1

The 34-year-old has joined some of the greats of running by setting a new standard in his field:

INEOS 1:59 Challenge @INEOS159

🇬🇧 1954 Roger Bannister breaks the 4-minute mile 🇺🇸 1969 Neil Armstrong walks on the moon 🇯🇲 2009 @UsainBolt runs 100m in 09.58 🇰🇪 2019 @EliudKipchoge runs a sub two-hour marathon #INEOS159 #NoHumanIsLimited https://t.co/HMXnxRohE3

Kipchoge came up short in Monza, but he still set a world record. Although he smashed that milestone today, the new mark won't be recognised as an official tally by the IAAF because of the use of rotating groups of pacemakers, per BBC Sport.

Even so, Kipchoge still reflected on his amazing accomplishment and thanked those who had helped make it possible, per the Guardian:

"I am feeling good. It has taken 65 years for a human to make history in sport. After Roger Bannister (running a sub four-minute mile in 1954) it took another 65 years … I'm happy to be the man to run under two hours. No human is limited, and I'm expecting more people to do it after today.

"The 41 pacemakers are among the best athletes in the whole world … to all of them I want to say thank you, thank you for doing the job. We made history together."

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The pacemakers split into teams, who ran in an open-v formation around the marathon legend. His path was also guided by neon green laser lights flashed from the rear of a pace car in front of the runners.

Even with what the IAAF deems assistance, the challenge facing Kipchoge in his pursuit of history was a daunting one:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

For Eliud Kipchoge to run a sub-two-hour marathon, he’ll need to run 100m in 17.08 seconds - 422 times in a row. 👀 Incredible! Watch live on @BBCRedButton & the @BBCSport website now ➡ https://t.co/NEsdAttK5W #bbcathletics https://t.co/AY72ktsKlY

Fortunately, he was running on a flat, even course and was able to set a strong early pace at the start of the 26.2-mile run.

Kipchoge steadily clocked up the right times to keep him on track to make history as he approached the halfway point:

INEOS 1:59 Challenge @INEOS159

⏱️INEOS 1:59 Challenge | 📈 @EliudKipchoge’s splits so far are what you would expect – incredible. He’s on course to make history but we've had some rain and the next 10km will be crucial. 5km – 14:14 10km – 28:28 (+14:14) 15km – 42:34 (+14:14) 20km – 56:47 (+14:13) #INEOS159 https://t.co/N8WmXgcIer

He had to run four laps so the Kenyan eventually tallied over 40 kilometres worth of running. His projected time stayed in line with what he needed as Kipchoge crossed the crucial markers:

INEOS 1:59 Challenge @INEOS159

⏱️ INEOS 1:59 Challenge | 🎬 Less than 15km is between @EliudKipchoge and history. 🙏 📺 Watch the final stages: https://t.co/2KER3yJcOS #INEOS159 https://t.co/OPqYcNTH4y

INEOS 1:59 Challenge @INEOS159

⏱️ INEOS 1:59 Challenge | 35km Just 7km to go and @EliudKipchoge is giving it absolutely everything. He’s passed 35km at 01:39:23 and is course to run 01:59:50 but the margin for error is minuscule. Keep pushing Eliud 💪 📺 Watch live: https://t.co/2KER3yJcOS #INEOS159 https://t.co/fk5muTM9ub

There was plenty of support for Kipchoge as he looked to be closing in on the record:

Chris Froome @chrisfroome

Cheering @EliudKipchoge to the finish line!! #INEOS159 @INEOS159 #ineos159challenge 🇰🇪❤️ https://t.co/YCzTO5Qibz

Lisa Doherty @Lisa_Doh

Go go go @EliudKipchoge! Only minutes to go and all of Kenya is watching the greatest marathon runner of all time try to make history by clocking in at 1:59... 🇰🇪 🙌🏽 #Eliud159  #NoHumanIsLimited https://t.co/YEUPNtuVQQ

Even though things were close, the man who took gold at the Berlin marathon in each of the last two years summoned one last exceptional effort to finish in style:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

The moment history was made! 🙌 The greatest marathon runner of all time... Eliud Kipchoge. #bbcathletics https://t.co/We9QKTzE2z

While his record wasn't set at an open event, nor will it be acknowledged by the global athletics authorities, Kipchoge has done something truly remarkable. In the process, one of the legends of long-distance running has redefined what is possible in the sport.

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