In Vienna City, Austria, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran 26.2 miles in 1 hour 59 minutes 40 seconds, becoming the first person to cover the marathon distance in less than two hours. Kipchoge, 34, is an eight-time major marathon winner and three-time Olympic medalist.
The great feat will only be regarded as a symbolic one, which was 10 seconds quicker than the 1:59:50 time Kipchoge and his team originally set out to achieve. Unfortunately, the new record will not be officially recognized as a world record because it was not run under open marathon conditions and featured a dense rotation of professional pacesetters, according to the NY Times.
Organizers proclaimed the two-hour mark as “the last barrier of modern athletics” and attempted to get the hashtag, #nohumanislimited, trending on social media. Kipchoge repeatedly compared the two-hour marathon to humanity’s first journey to the moon.
“The pressure was very big on my shoulders,” said Kipchoge, who shared he received a call from President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya the night before the run.
Kipchoge previously made an attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier once before in 2017, in a similar event organized by Nike. Kipchoge ran a 2:00:25 marathon around an auto racetrack in Monza, Italy and was by far the fastest marathon ever run, but it was also not officially recognized as a world record because it was not run under normal race conditions
The New York Times reports Kipchoge produced the two fastest times in history at the time they were run and posted a world-record time of 2:01:39 in Berlin in 2018 and 2:02:37 last April in London. “Berlin was about running a world record,” Kipchoge said earlier this week. “Vienna is about running and breaking history, like the first man on the moon.”
Kipchoge jumped into the arms of his wife, Grace, and children as he crossed the finish line. Through all his years of competition, all the victories and medals and records in his career, this was the first time his family watched him run in person.
Congratulations to Eliud Kipchoge! #BlackBoyJoy