October 12, 2019.
World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has made history by becoming the first man to run the marathon under two hours.
Kipchoge, who is also the reigning Olympics Marathon champion, on Saturday recorded 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds, thereby becoming the first athlete to dip under the mythical two-hour barrier in a specially prepared course in Vienna, Austria.
Upon completing the race, an elated Kipchoge, with the Kenyan flag on his shoulders , gave his fans high-fives and performed a small jig. Later, he thanked his fans for the support they have accorded him during the attempt dubbed ‘Ineos 1:59 Challenge.’
‘I want to convey a message of a clean sport. We can achieve a lot of things through running. I want to say thank you to my fans who watched the race live here and back home in Kenya. My fans who followed the race online on Facebook, on Twitter and live on television. I appreciate the time that you set aside to follow the race. We have achieved this together, and together we can make the world a beautiful place,’ he said.
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.
Kipchoge’s wife Grace and their three children watched the race live in Vienna. Afterwards, the athlete paid glowing tribute to his family.
‘My family are my biggest fans. I am happy that they came over to watch the race live. They are among those who helped me make history, and I am happy for them,’ Kipchoge said.
Kipchoge was spurred to history by a team of 41 top pacemakers who joined the race at various times. At any one time in the race, Kipchoge was accompanied by five pacemakers. The last batch of pacemakers stayed with the legendary marathoner till the 41st kilometre before dropping off with half a kilometre to go.
From then on, Kipchoge broke into a sprint on the homestretch and could be seen pumping his fist in the air and gesturing to fans who lined up on either side of the course at Prater Park in Prague.
By running the marathon under two hours, the Kenyan road running legend achieved in doing what he failed to do two years ago in a Nike-sponsored attempt in Monza, Italy.
Kipchoge said he achieved the feat after many months of preparations.
‘It has been many months of training and I am happy it we have succeeded,’ the athlete, coached by Matthew Sang, said.
He was full of praise for his pacemakers.
‘The 41 pacemakers who were here are among the best in the world. I thank them and appreciate them for accepting to do the job. We did this together,’ Kipchoge said after the race.
The world marathon record holder hopes that his achievement will inspire athletes and Kenyans in general to break barriers in life.
‘This means a lot to Kenya. I chose to run under two hours to show them that anybody can step out of hios comfort zone and achieve great things. Together we can do more and make the world a beautiful place,’ Kipchoge said afterwards.
In his home village of Kapsisiwo in Nandi County, Kipchogès mother, in the company of friends, watched with teary eyes as their famous son achieved what was once considered impossible.
‘I am very happy to have seen my son achieve this feat. I am proud as a mother and it gives me a lot of joy,’ she said on Saturday amid song and dance.
Kenyans from all walks of life gathered at various places countrywide to follow yesterday’s race. In Nairobi, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed joined athletics fans at Kenyatta International Convention Centre to watch the race. Crowds also gathered in Eldoret and Nakuru to watch the race.
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