ELIUD KIPCHOGE’s 1:59:40.2-Marathon Run
Kenya’s greatest marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge has etched his name in the athletics’ history by declaring to the world – ‘No Human is Limited’ by running the first ever sub-2 hour marathon clocking 1:59:40.2 in Vienna, Austria on the 12th of October 2019. The race was unlike other Marathons, because the race was between Kipchoge’s strong belief, confidence, dedicated hard training, mathematical calculation and scientific approach to break the sub-2 hour Marathon run and the clock.
Kipchoge and his amazing team of 41 pacers, Coach Patrick Sang, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS team, his Manager Valentijn Trouw, precious supportive family and each and every member, who were part of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge did show to the world that “No Human is Limited’. The last four and a half months was planned in such an amazing precision that each and every individual played their significant role to achieve the most stupendous feat in the world of Marathons.
The clock stopped at 1:59:40.2 as Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line pumping his chest to be greeted by none other than his beloved wife Grace in pure joy and a sense of relief of what he has achieved for the world to start believing in sports. Truly remarkable, the world was waiting for this moment with bated breath. Kipchoge’s historic run to become the first man to break the Marathon 2-Hour barrier will inspire the present and future generation of athletes to believe that no human is limited.
A team of seven pacers, exchanging every 5km, accompanied Kipchoge throughout the course to maintain the 2:50 per km pace to achieve the targeted of 1 hour 59 minutes. 41 pacers from all over the world, namely 10 countries, were picked up for their track record to etch their names in history along with Kipchoge. The pacers and Kipchoge’s running was synchronized in a scientific manner to provide aerodynamics advantage. They wore special shoes to provide extra help and comfort. Kipchoge’s fluid intake was also given timely by his manager, who accompanied them on bicycle.
Johnny D elucidates the amazing feat by Kenya’s legendary marathoner Eliud Kipchoge. The team of pacers did a marvelous job by maintaining the 2:50 per km pace. In fact, they never exceeded the 2:52-mark and never dipped below the 2:48-mark. Just like in Kipchoge’s run at Monza in Italy run, an electric pace car pointing lasers to guide the pacers played a major role to maintain the pace. INEOS played the significant role to support Kipchoge in his historic endeavour.
It is interesting to note that Eliud Kipchoge’s wife Grace and three children witnessed him run the marathon live for the very first time in his 18-year career in athletics. Simple and humble to the core, the family has strengthened their bond by supporting each other unconditionally. Humbleness leads to greater success as Kipchoge revealed, “The more you are humble, the more you become successful.”
The Marathon World Record holder Kipchoge’s historic run will inspire the whole world for many-many years to come. He remembers how the world was in shock when Roger Bannister ran the first ever sub-4 minute mile in 1954. Exactly after 65 years, the first ever sub-2 hour Marathon has been run by the greatest marathoner of the world. After the race, the jubilation among the team and crowd brought tears of joy in people’s eyes. It was a remarkable achievement, which Kipchoge believes to be like landing on the moon.
I watched the whole race live. You all reading this article will be amazed to know that while I am writing this piece, I am having goose bumps. I have been a middle-distance athlete during my younger days, so I know what it takes to achieve the unexpected. Kipchoge has instilled an amazing spirit within me and now I wish to start running once again. His magnificent feat will be talked for life. His achievement is truly incredible!
At the post-race conference, Kipchoge revealed, “This was the best moment of my life! “From the first km, today I was really comfortable. In my heart and my mind, I hoped to run under two hours and make history. I hoped to leave a positive message to the whole world that no human is limited.” He added, “I was really calm. I just wanted to maintain the pace. I followed the instructions of the pacemakers. At 35km and 40km, my mind was focused on running. I did not think it was 50-50.”
Kipchoge’s humbleness is truly infectious. He revealed the rising pressure on his shoulders, when Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta called to wish him all the luck. Eliud smiles like a kid as if he has found his treasure. He thanked each and everyone, who has supported him in his quest to break the greatest barrier in marathon running.
Founder and CEO of INEOS Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is known in the world of cycling revealed, “I am an amateur runner and sometimes I run well and sometimes not, and I don’t really know why. But, this is sport and there are no guarantees. I am just glad he had a really good day. That last half a km, when the pace car was gone it was just Eliud. It didn’t look like his feet were touching the ground. He looked so calm and tranquil. My face would have been torture.”
Eliud’s long-time friend Bernard Lagat, who led the first and the last batch of pacers as the Captain was the oldest at 44 years among the 41 pacers. Lagat enthused, “Eliud told the world that if you set your mind to something, nothing is impossible. This is a special day today. Looking at the 1:59:40 time, I got so emotional. He worked so hard for it and inspired us. It is something special. Eliud proved no human was limited and he did it.”
Sudanese-born American two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong, who was one of the pacers at Monza and Vienna enthused, “It means the world to me. Eliud said we needed to be able to come to the moon and back and we did today. This was a momentous day! The whole world will be watching with many people putting their shoes on thinking about breaking two hours. Today is Eliud’s day, but everyone can come out to celebrate this moment. We are all part of history! We all did this together as a running community.”
INEOS Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford disclosed, “Eliud is a once-in-a-generation athlete and if anybody deserves to break the two-hour barrier, it is him. It was an incredible performance and a privilege to be here. This project kicked off earlier this year. We took a good look at it and broke it down. A lot of high performance principles can apply to all sports and we helped with a little background support to aid Eliud’s brilliant team around him. The great thing about INEOS's role is we brought people together, including from the INEOS sailing and cycling teams. INEOS put it all together for this single project and from an INEOS sport perspective it has been fantastic.”
Eliud Kipchoge is the current Marathon World Record holder, which he established at the 2018 Berlin Marathon clocking 2:01:39. Interestingly, Ethiopian all time legendary distance runner Kenenisa Bekele missed Kipchoge’s World Record at the 2019 Berlin Marathon clocking an amazing 2:01:41. It is also interesting to note that at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei broke the Women’s Marathon World Record clocking 2:14:04 to erase Paula Radcliffe’s previous World Record of 2:15:25 set in 2003.
The INEOS 1:59 Challenge was totally a teamwork of precision to achieve the desired result. The following techniques were incorporated by the INEOS team:
Kipchoge and the 41 pacers wore improved version of Nike's previously unreleased Vaporfly Next%. It is believed to improve running economy by 4%.
Pacing lasers to guide the pacers to achieve precise time per km, as it was incorporated at Monza.
The Vienna course was chosen to minimize wind, inclination and directional changes.
Vienna was chosen, so that its time zone matches Kaptagat in Kenya, where Kipchoge and his team were training in order to avoid jet lag period and sleeping disorder.
Vienna course was chosen for being located at low altitude to increase oxygen percentage in the air to better performance.
Vienna’s culture and love for athletics also played a major role with encouraging crowds motivating Eliud and his team.
The V-shaped formation was to shield Eliud from wind resistance.
Fluid intake was coordinated by Team Manager and provided to Eluid at precise time.
Eliud Kipchoge was born in Kapsisiywa, Nandi County, Kenya on the 5th of November 1984. Eliud and wife Grace are blessed with three children – daughter Lynne, sons Griffin and Gordon. Like Eliud, Grace is humble and a woman with few words.
Grace and her children watched him live running a marathon for the very first time in his 18-year long career. Kipchoge puts running in simple yet effective perspective by saying, “Sport can help unify people. I wanted to sell that message to the whole world. Truly no human is limited!” How true!