Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge narrowly misses magical marathon mark

Nick Mcbride
May 7, 2017

Two other distinguished runners were invited to participated in the race, dubbed Breaking 2; Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia both fell out of contention early on and finished several minutes behind.

In his pursuit of sporting immortality, Kipchoge had to set a ferocious pace of 4min 34sec per mile - seven seconds quicker than the pace of the existing world record of 2:02:57 set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

The Nike-sponsored Breaking2 attempt will not go down as an official world record due to the use of pacers and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.

"We are human. We are going up the tree". Paula Radcliffe set her 2.15:25 mark while being shielded by male runners throughout the London Marathon of 2003.

Friday night on a racetrack in Italy (or Saturday morning there), three distance runners for Nike will attempt to achieve a feat many have long thought impossible: the 2-hour marathon.

But he said Kipchoge's marathon was evidence a sub two-hour marathon would come in a "race-legitimate situation" within "the next few years".

Aided by a host of carefully-managed technological and environmental advances, Kipchoge and two fellow elite runners were attempting to reach a mark nearly three minutes lower than the current world record. My mind was fully on [the goal of] two hours but this journey has been good.

The one thing Nike couldn't measure before the race was the runners' grit.

A total of 30 pacemakers split into groups of six, taking turns to set a tempo in a race run 63 years to the day after Briton Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes. But most scientists and sages of the sport don't expect to see a sub-two-hour marathon for years or even decades.

It was still dark when Kipchoge - along with Zersenay Tadese, the half-marathon world-record holder, and Lelisa Desisa, a double Boston Marathon victor - stepped on to the track shortly before 5.45am local time on Saturday morning.

"With the calculations we have done, with the experiments we have done, and with today's Breaking2 experiment - which was probably the most useful of all the experiments - I am absolutely certain that we can get to under two hours, which most people thought would not be possible". "It has been history in the world of sport", he added.

Kipchoge also broke his personal best time of 2:03:05, set at the London Marathon past year. Tadese, meanwhile, came home in 2:06.51, with Desisa further back in 2:14:10. At Breaking2, Eliud Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles faster than any human ever.

Kipchoge needed an average of 2:50 per kilometre - an improvement of around 2.5 per cent on Kimetto's record.

Other reports by VgToday

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