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Eliud KIPCHOGE biography
Having taken place so recently, it’s hard to put Eliud Kipchoge’s astonishing sub two-hour marathon into context. Like Roger Bannister breaking the four minute mile in 1954, the Kenyan achieved something that many people believed physically couldn’t be done.
Some will argue about the details, but the facts remain remarkable. On 12 October 2019, Kipchoge ran 26.2 miles in the time of 1:59:40, across a special course in Vienna, Austria. It did not count as an official marathon world record, because standard competition rules for pacing and fluids were not followed, and it wasn’t an ‘open’ race. He was paced by a car and carefully co-ordinated team of elite runners throughout.
But the moment still transcended the rules: the sense of occasion and Kipchoge’s emotions afterwards ensured that the completion of the 1:59 challenge, which he had already attempted and failed once, will be seen as his crowning achievement in years to come.
Kipchoge, now 35, realised the significance immediately afterwards. “After Roger Bannister in 1954, it took another 63 years, I tried and I did not get it,” he said about the breakthrough. “I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited.”
His challenge aside, Kipchoge would have gone down as the greatest marathon runner of all time, anyway. He has won 12 of the 13 marathons he’s entered during his running career, including the Rio 2016 Olympic Games marathon, and four London marathons.
He also holds the marathon world record for a run during competition: a blistering time of 2:01:39, set at the 2018 Berlin marathon, and knocking a huge one minute and 18 seconds off the previous record.
Born in the Nandi District of Kenya, he has been running at a high level since 2002, and during his earlier career specialised in the 5000m – winning bronze at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and silver at Beijing 2008.
Kipchoge is married with three children. He will head to Tokyo 2020 as hot favourite for the marathon title, and the weather should certainly suit him. The race, which takes place on 9 August, has been moved out of Tokyo to Sapporo in Northern Japan due to fear about the Japanese capital’s heat – but it should still be very warm.
After his heroics in Vienna, Kipchoge is set to be one of the Games’ biggest stars.