Eliud Kipchoge breaks away from his pacemakers as he heads towards the finish line. IMAGE/SCREENSHOT
Marathon master, Eliud Kipchoge, entered The Guinness Book of World Records after he successfully completed the first ever marathon under two hours in the Austrian capital of Vienna, two years since he fell 25 seconds short.
Kipchoge was on target to break the record during the first half of Vienna’s Prater Park on Saturday, after completing 21 kilometers in 59.35 minutes.
Kipchoge’s first crack of going sub-two hour in Monza, Italy, was part of Nike’s Breaking2 project. This time he was being backed by petrochemical company Ineos in an attempt called the 1:59 Challenge.
Despite the achievement, the milestone won’t count as a world record. In fact, Ineos hasn’t even submitted a request to the IAAF for the attempt to be officially ratified.
However, he takes consolation in the fact that the feat has enabled him to be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records; the ultimate authority on record-breaking.
Like many of the records it charts, the Guinness Book of World Records was the product of a can-do spirit and the need to validate one’s pride and it was founded by Sir Hugh Beaver, the then managing director of the Guinness Brewery in 1955.
During the race, Kipchoge followed behind a car — a condition not allowed under IAAF sanctions — and was assisted by an army of 30 pacemakers.
Eliud Kipchoge embraces his wife at the end of the race. . IMAGE/SCREENSHOT
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Kipchoge in a tweet after the marathon: “You’ve done it, you’ve made history and made Kenya proud while at it.
“Your win today, will inspire tens of future generations to dream big and to aspire for greatness,” Kenyatta added.
Speaking before the marathon, Kipchoge said he was aware that there were critics of the manufactured conditions surrounding the attempt.
“The law of nature cannot allow all human beings to think together,” the reigning Olympic marathon champion said. “In breaking the two-hour barrier, I want to open minds to think that no human is limited. All our minds, all our thoughts are parallel. But I respect everybody’s thoughts.”
He added that the 1:59 Challenge is different to competing in a race like the Berlin Marathon, where he set the current world record in 2018.
“Berlin is running and breaking a world record,” said Kipchoge. “Vienna is running and making history — like the first man to go to the moon.”
The NEW YORK TIMES said for all its magnitude, the accomplishment will be regarded largely as a symbolic one. The eye-popping time, which was 10 seconds quicker than the 1:59:50 time Kipchoge and his team had set out to achieve, will not be officially recognized as a world record because it was not run under open marathon conditions and because it featured a dense rotation of professional pacesetters.
What the event lacked in officially sanctioned gravitas, though, it seemed determined to make up for with theater and grandiose proclamations.
The run, organized by the petrochemical company INEOS, featured a cycle of hype and commercial buildup more reminiscent of a heavyweight prizefight than a road race.
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