Hail the king! Peerless Eliud Kipchoge breaks two-hour marathon barrier

Saturday October 12 2019

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge celebrates as he crosses finish line and makes history to become the first human being to run a marathon in under 2 hours. PHOTO | INEOS 1:59 CHALLENGE 

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Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge Saturday became the first man to run the marathon under two hours after clocking one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria.

Kipchoge, who was assisted by 41 pacemakers, enters the Guinness Book of World Records for running the first sub two-hour marathon though his feat will not be recognised by the world athletics governing body, IAAF, as the new world marathon record.

It was his second attempt after falling short by 26 seconds during the "Breaking2" event in Monza, Italy in 2017 where he timed 2:00:25.

In Vienna, the pacemakers were divided into groups of seven, with five running ahead of Kipchoge in a ‘V’ formation, and two behind the Olympic champion to dictate the pace for him while also protecting him from the wind.

Ahead of the pack was a zero-emission Audi E-tron car, the latest from the German manufacturer in the electric car market, which beamed green laser lights onto the tarmac to guide the runners to stick to the pace agreed on, which was two minutes and 50 seconds per kilometre.

Just to make sure the car’s pace is spot-on, the driver used the cruise control facility that ensured the steady pace.


Each runner had a chip fitted in his shoe, and with car’s cruise control not 100 per cent efficient, organisers threw in transponders at every kilometre to ensure the correct pace is maintained, with a back-up car at the ready, just in case.

And the plan worked perfectly with Kipchoge completing the first five kilometres in 14:10, 10km in 28:20 and 15km in 42:34.

Kipchoge passed the 35km mark at 1:39: 23 and left no margin for error to finish in 1:59:40.