Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya is the first marathon runner to beat the two-hour barrier posting a 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40.2 seconds run across 26.2 miles in Vienna, Austria.
The achievement occurred during the INEOS 1:59 challenge, an event that was designed to maximize speed. In the run, Kipchoge had the assistance of 41 pacesetters. The run provided an average of 100m every 17 seconds, consecutively performed 422 times.
Fans watched the performance in Kipchoge’s hometown of Eldoret, Kenya, celebrating in the street of the city as he broke the record.
“This shows no one is limited,” Kipchoge said to the BBC. “Now I’ve done it, I am expecting more people to do it after me.”
In celebration of the achievement, Kipchoge spoke with Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya.
“Hearty congratulations, Eliud Kipchoge,” Kenyatta said in a statement. “You’ve done it, you’ve made history and made Kenya proud. Your win today will inspire future generations to dream big and aspire to greatness. We celebrate you and wish you God’s blessings.”
According to Yahoo Sports, while impressive, the run will not be considered an official world record by the International Association fo Athletics Federation (IAAF) due to the conditions set in the race, as well as the assistance of pacesetters. The run was created to break the two-hour mark and not to set a world record.
The 34-year-old Kipchoge already holds the world record, running the Berlin Marathon in 2:01:39 in 2018 and 2:02:37 this past April.
The goal set for this run was to complete it in 1:59:50, which Kipchoge beat by 10 seconds. This effort was called the “last great barrier” in running, following Roger Bannister’s run of a mile in less than four minutes in 1954, which required a 4:34 mile pace or better. Kipchoge measured in at 4:33.5 minutes per mile.
“I am feeling good. After Roger Bannister it took another 65 years to make history,” Kipchoge said. “Now I’ve gone under two hours to inspire other people and show the world nobody is limited.”
Kipchoge’s historic under two-hour marathon will however carry an asterisk next to his achievement and will not be featured in the official record books. According to The Economist, INEOS 1:59 challenge, bent the rules to favor Kipchoge including changing the route to ensure he finished before two hours, picking the most ideal date and time for the race when it came to weather conditions, eliminating wind resistance by having other runners run in a “V” formation before him, and then there are his alleged “special shoes.”
Even with all of these factors at play, you cannot take away the sub-human effort it takes for anyone to amazing athletic feat.