University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

First Man To Run a Marathon Under Two Hours

Melissa Rosalind White

ByMelissa Rosalind White

Nov 10, 2019

By Sonaili Vasta 

Marathon history was made on Saturday the 12th when Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a sub two-hour marathon. 

Kipchoge crossed the finish line 1 hour 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds, at Vienna’s Prater Park. He kept a steady and average mile pace of running a mile under 4 minutes, 34 seconds. The total length of the course was 26.2 miles and he spent four months training for the big day. 

Kipchoge also holds the official current record of 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds which was the time that he completed the Berlin marathon in 2018 and is a four-time London marathon winner as well as a three-time Olympic Gold Medallist. 

This victory has certainly made marathon history, putting Kipchoge’s name on the hall of fame, with the likes of Sir Roger Bannister (first man to run a sub-four-minute mile) and even Usain Bolt. The astounding achievement was not deemed to be achieved for another 80 years, but Eliud Kipchoge was able to break the barrier. This was made possible through the help of certain significant factors. 

The milestone was achieved with the help of Kipchoge sporting Nike’s Vaporfly shoes, running on a course designed for speed, with large trees alongside a rather flat trail’s edge, preventing any obstruction from the wind. He was also assisted by more than 40 pace setters, which included some of the best marathon runners in the world, who ran alongside him in the ideal weather conditions of Vienna. He also ran behind a car throughout the entire course, which shot out laser beams guiding him through a course which was straight to prevent any lag that would be caused by unexpected curves in the road. 

Photo: Denis Barthel

This ideal set-up was planned with the help of British petrochemicals company, INEOS and though the time is recognised it is not considered as an official record by IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) due to it not taking place under open marathon conditions and regulations. However, Kipchoge told TIME’s magazine that “even if they say it’s not a world record, I have broken a barrier. Which makes a difference in human life, in a human family. That’s my evidence.” 

Critics have been quick to underestimate the development that this has made in the history of marathon running because of these conditions. However, their voices have been drowned out by the praise that Kipchoge has received for attempting and managing to achieve the impossible. 

Kipchoge has since said that through achieving the impossible and making it possible, he hopes to convey the message that “No man is limited”. He has also said that he hoped to inspire his fellow other marathoners to push themselves and maybe even possibly do better than him. 

Eliud Kipchoge has clearly made a name for himself as the great marathon runner in the history of the world and this probably is not the last that we have seen of him. Suffice to say, it will not be long before either him or another inspired marathoner will do it again and officially too!


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