Eliud Kipchoge has done it! He will go down in the annals of history as the first human to run a marathon (42km) in under 2 hours. It is no mean feat, and he was cheered on by millions of Kenyans from his home country as well as millions of people around the globe as he made the run of his life. He crossed the finish line at 1:59:40. This is 10 seconds earlier than his projected time of 1-59-50.
This is not Kipchoge's first record, the man is world record holder in 11 of the 12 marathons he has contested. It is not the first time he has tried running a marathon in under 2 hours either - two years ago, he narrowly missed out when he finished in two hours and twenty-five seconds.
This year's race took place in Prater Park in Vienna, Austria. The challenge was backed by Ineos. The streets were lined with well-wishers and eager fans - a crowd of about 8000 people. His friends and family, including his wife and children, had flown in from Kenya to see him race. The race started at 8:15 am local time (6.15 GMT). Kipchoge ran 4.4 laps of a 9.6-kilometer course that consisted of a long straight looped at each end.
The IAAF will not recognize the feat as an official record due to the highly-controlled conditions it occurred in. For one, Kipchoge had pacemakers along the way who shielded him from the wind. Water was handed to him directly so that he would not have to veer off the course to get it, wasting precious time. He was also not racing against anyone but himself. Nonetheless, Kipchoge is still the reigning Olympic champion as he set an official world record of 2:01.39 at the Berlin marathon in September last year.
The 34-year-old was elated at having broken the 2-hour barrier. Asked how he felt, he said, "I'm the happiest man and happy to inspire other people to know that no human is unlimited."
Header Image Credit: NYT