Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge has made history as the first man to run a marathon in under two hours, breaking the sub-2-hour barrier by 20 seconds.
The 34-year-old Olympic Champion completed the 42km race in one hour 59 minutes 40 seconds in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge staged on the streets of Vienna, Austria on Saturday.
However, IAAF will not recognize the time as the official marathon world record because it was not an open competition and Kipchoge used a team of rotating pacemakers.
Kipchoge shattered the two-hour barrier in his second attempt, having missed out by 25 seconds in the first attempt in Italy in 2017.
He is the current holder of the official marathon World Record, a time of 2 hours 01 minute 39 seconds set at the Berlin Marathon in 2018.
“I’m feeling good, after Roger Bannister, it took 63 years. I am the happiest man to run under two hours and I can tell people no human is limited. I have tried to inspire many people, you can do it. It’s dedication, it was a hard run,” Kipchoge said at the finish line.
“It means a lot to Kenya, running under two hours, together we can make a beautiful world.”
He thanked all those who supported him through the race, including the sponsors of the event, pacemakers, his family and fans.
“They (my wife and kids) have given me so much support, I’m happy they came here to witness history,” Kipchoge said.
“The positivity of sport, I want it to be a clean and interesting sport, wake up early in the morning and run. It can be good for all.”
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed termed Kipchoge’s win as a huge victory for Kenya.
“On behalf of the government, the Ministry congratulates and highly commends Eliud Kipchoge for this outstanding performance. We assure Kenyans that an appropriate consideration or reward will be extended to Kipchoge for inspiring other athletes to break existing standards” Amina said from Vienna.
“His success is also a victory for those who believe in the unlimited possibilities of human potential. Through this Challenge, Kipchoge has demonstrated, to use his own words, that “when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible”.
Kipchoge, who was assisted by an army of 41 pacemakers, enters the Guinness Book of World Records for running the first sub-two-hour marathon.
The 41 pacemakers were divided into groups of seven, with five running in front of Kipchoge in a ‘V’ formation, and two behind to dictate the pace and protect him from the wind.