Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge becomes the first marathon runner to finish a marathon race under two hours, two years after failing by some seconds in his first attempt.
Although not an official record, Eliud Kipchoge has written his name in the history books, by becoming the first person to run the trial marathon under two hours, smashing his target by 20 seconds to complete the race in 1:59:40 time after missing out by just 25 seconds in his first bid two years ago.
Eliud Kipchoge alongside other runners took part in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna today. He ran at 13mph and a 1km pace of two-minute 50-seconds – the average speed of traffic in central London is 7mph.
But his feat will not stand as an official record because it is not in open competition and it uses rotating pacesetters.
His 41-strong team protected from any headwind, ensure he is on schedule and supply him with drinks as he ran 4.4 laps of a flat, 9.6km circuit.
There was also a green laser to show Eliud Kipchoge where he needed to be in order to beat the record.
After the race, he was embraced by jubilant crowds who could not believe anyone could run a marathon under two hours, as they cheered him on.
Speaking after the race, and how he felt running, Eliud Kipchoge said:
“I am feeling good.
“It’s taken 65 years for a human being to make history in sport – after Roger Bannister made history in 1954.
I have tried and I got it.
“I am the happiest man to run under two hours to inspire people, to tell people that no human being is limited. You can do it.
“I expect more athletes in the world to run under two hours after today.
“You need dedication, you need the hard runs.
“Absolutely remember the 41 pacemakers are among the best athletes ever in the world. They are the best, I want to thank them, to appreciate them for accepting to do their job. We made history together in this one.
“My wife and two children have given more support. I am glad they are here to witness history.
“The positively of sport, I want to make it a clean sport and an interesting sport.”
Despite not being considered a world record, the bid will still make history – with no one ever running 26.2 miles quicker than 1:59.
His coach, Patrick Sang, praised the Kenyan for “inspiring the world” as sports heroes offered their congratulations.
Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France champion, said: “This is phenomenal.
“It’s incredible to watch him run. He looks like he is not breathing, just gliding over the road.
“Kenya is quite well known for its marathon runners but to do something monumental as this, it will be such a boost for all the athletes over there. Breaking barriers, showing the impossible is durable.
“Eliud is most capable of human being on earth to deal with that pain.”
An average runner completes a sub-four-hour marathon – with just two per cent of the global running community ever making the distance in under three hours.