Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge on Saturday made history, busting the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon in the “best moment” of his life on a specially prepared course in a huge Vienna park.
With a time of 1hr 59min 40.2sec, the Olympic champion became the first ever to run a marathon in under two hours in the Prater park with the course readied to make it as even as possible.
“I’m the happiest man today. The message that no human is limited is now in everybody’s mind,” an elated Kipchoge told reporters after the run, adding he expected more athletes to reach his feat in the future.
The 34-year-old already holds the men’s World record for the distance with a time of 2:01:39s, which he set in the flat Berlin marathon on September 16, 2018.
But accompanied by a posse of 41 pacemakers, who took turns to support him, and a car in front of them setting the pace, Kipchoge bested his mark, making good on a failed attempt two years ago in Monza, Italy.
Maintaining a very regular pace at around 2.5 minutes per km, he passed the finish line gesturing and smiling, describing his approach to the finish as “the best moment of my life”.
Kipchoge’s coach, Patrick Sang, said the Kenyan had “inspired all of us that we can stretch our limits in our lives”.
Because of the way the run was set up and paced, the International Association of Athletics Federations will not validate the 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.
His number one fan, his mother Janet Rotich, was watching from her home in a village close to Babsabet in Kenya. “I am happy today because he has won… I thank him so much for this, for me, for Kenya and the world,” she said.