History will remember Eliud Kipchoge; the first person to break the two hour marathon mark. He completed the feat on the 12th of October 2019 in Vienna, with a time of 1:59:40. In his own words he wanted to show that “no-one is limited”.
Kipchoge’s remarkable effort is demonstrative of the fact that humans will always progress and beat adversity. Ineos, the British petroleum company that has broken into the sporting world and set up the event in Vienna, on their Twitter page, put this great achievement alongside man landing on the moon, as well as Roger Bannister and Usain Bolt’s athletic milestones.
Kipchoge’s triumph represents a broader narrative that, as humans, we can always achieve great things with hard work and that some individuals are just simply heroic. Even if you do not believe this sort of emotional rhetoric, only one individual has had the ability to run a marathon under two hours, making it one of the greatest achievements in human endeavour.
Despite this, it is still an unofficial record because it was not an actual race. Instead it was an event set up specifically to break the top time. It was setup by Kipchoge himself who, despite the fact this time is not officially registered, still holds the official record time of 2:01:39, set at the Berlin Marathon in 2018.
Yet, this certainly does not take away from the achievement. Just for reference, thirty-six year old Kipchoge ran 100 metres every 17 seconds, for roughly two hours – an incredible feat that takes a lot of talent, skill and courage.
No one else has come close to breaking the two hour mark in a marathon, with fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto, who has the closest time to Kipchoge,still a good two minutes and seventeen seconds away.
There also needs to be special mention given to fellow Kenyan, Brigid Kosegi, as, just days after Kipchoge’s historical performance, she managed set the world record time at the Chicago Marathon for the women’s race. Kosegi set the time of 2:14:04, smashing Paula Radcliffe’s record time of 2:15:25, and defeating the world record that the Brit had held since the 2003 London Marathon.
Both athletes have hit a major milestone, and these performances have solidified Kenya’s dominant positon in the marathon world.