Running the marathon distance in less than two hours seemed impossible, but Nike-backed Eliud Kipchoge did just that on Oct. 12 in Vienna.
The 34-year-old Kenya native ran 26.2 miles in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds on a closed course at an event dubbed the Ineos 1:59 Challenge. But because of several factors, the accomplishment is not considered a world record.
Regardless, the running community and Nike, his longtime sponsor have applauded Kipchoge’s feat and publicly shown support for the marathoner.
With the mark set, FN shares why it’s not considered a world record and looks into the historic career of Kipchoge.
Why Kipchoge’s Mark Isn’t a World Record
Some reports stated his use of 36 pacemakers in alternating groups is one reason the International Association of Athletics Federations governing body won’t call the sub two-hour mark a world record. Other reports said the event being held on a closed 6-mile course instead of an open event is responsible.
This Was Kipchoge’s Second Attempt to Break the Two-Hour Barrier
The event on Oct. 12 wasn’t the first time Kipchoge attempted to run 26.2 miles in less than two hours with Nike. The first attempt — dubbed Breaking2 — was on May 6, 2017 in Monza, Italy. The effort was solid, but Kipchoge missed the target, running the distance in 2:00:25. At the time, Nike stated it was the fastest time accomplished for that distance, although it was not recognized as a world record.
The Nike Shoes Kipchoge Wore in Vienna Aren’t on the Market Yet
The running shoes Kipchoge laced up for the event aren’t available for purchase. Nike confirmed before the sub two-hour attempt Saturday that he would wear a future edition of its Next% marathon shoe.
He Holds the Men’s Marathon Record
Despite the sub two-hour mark not being recognized as a world record, he is still No. 1 in the books for men. Kipchoge ran the Berlin Marathon in 2018 in 2:01:39, which is considered the official men’s world record marathon time.
He’s Been Setting Records Since His First-Ever Marathon
It’s rare for any athlete to step on the scene and immediately be the best, but one could argue Kipchoge did just that. In his debut, the Haspa Marathon Hamburg in 2013, Kipchoge won with a time of 2:05:30. It still stands today as the course record.
Kipchoge Is a Highly Decorated Marathoner
If you’re participating in a marathon alongside Kipchoge, you’re likely not coming in first place. The athlete’s World Marathon Majors resume is stunning. He won Chicago in 2014, finished first in London four times (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019) and Berlin three (2015, 2017, 2018). Also, he took home the marathon event gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
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