Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under two hours, covering the 26.2-mile distance in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds in a specially-tailored event in Vienna.
Although it was the quickest marathon ever recorded, the effort won’t count as a world record because it didn’t come in a race setting and he relied on rotating pacemakers.
But for all the assistance he received over seven months of preparation and nearly two hours of running, 34-year-old Kipchoge waved off the pacemakers with some 500 yards to go. It was clear to him then that he wouldn’t simply break the two-hour barrier but shatter it. His face creased into a grin and he finished solo, flashing thumbs-up at the fans, and pointing at the giant clock above the finish line.
“I’m expecting more athletes to run under two hours after today,” Kipchoge said.
Asked about the recent ban of a Nike-backed coach for doping offenses, Kipchoge said, “In a garden there are flowers and there are weeds. In Vienna we are talking about the flowers.”
And finally, asked a possible future attempt on the world record in race conditions, he offered, “Above all, I am from Kenya, where you are taught not to chase two rabbits or one of them will escape.”