The world’s first sub-2-hour marathon ever now belongs to Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge.
Some records transcend all sports — and no matter how elusive they prove, they pose a challenge everyone can look up to. So it is with the two-hour mark for marathon runners. For decades, it has stood as a tantalizing barrier that runners around have chipped away at — but never broken.
Until now. On Saturday, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya broke the tape in Vienna, Austria, with an official time of 1:59:40:2, shattering the vaunted 2-hour mark.
Watch Kipchoge cross the line and into history below.
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Sub-2-Hour Marathon: Eliud Kipchoge
Almost no wind and temperatures that hovered around 48 degrees Fahrenheit meant the 34-year-old Kenyan ran in “perfect weather conditions,” according to event officials.
“It is a great feeling to make history in sport after Sir Roger Bannister [set the first sub-four-minute mile] in 1954,” Kipchoge said after the race. “I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours and I can tell people that no human is limited. I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.”
And it wasn’t just the weather. Kipchoge ran on a course designed for speed with the specific intent to break the 2-hour barrier. Petrochemical company INEOS sponsored the attempt as part of an event dubbed the “INEOS 1:59 Challenge.”
The course consisted of four laps around the Hauptallee, a “historic tree-line avenue” with natural windbreaks and long, flat, straight stretches of road.
To aid in the attempt, Kipchoge had 41 pace runners and an electric timing car. He maintained a pace of 2 minutes 50 seconds per kilometer throughout to achieve the record.
“I wanted to run under two hours and show human beings can do a good job and lead a good life,” Kipchoge concluded. “I want to make the sport an interesting sport whereby all the human beings can run and together we can make this world a beautiful world.”