Eliud Kipchoge marathon record
Photo credit: MIchael Gruber / VCM

Sub-2-Hour Marathon! Eliud Kipchoge Etches Name in History

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.”

Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the Editor In Chief of GearJunkie.

Adam has been covering daily news and writing about cycling, camping, hiking, and gear of all kinds for 15+ years. Prior to that, Adam lived in Hawaii and Puerto Rico, at which time he realized he’d never have a “normal job.” His pastimes — farming, bike racing, and fitness — provided a gateway to all manner of physical challenges and recreation outdoors.

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