Eliud Kipchoge targets 1:59.50 Vienna marathon: "It's history, like the first man to go to the moon"

Kenyan Olympic champion and world record holder full of confidence ahead of sub two hour marathon challenge in Vienna.

By Rory Jiwani and Ken Browne ·

Eliud Kipchoge is ready to make history in Vienna.

On Saturday 12 October between 5am-9am CEST Kenya's three-time Olympic medallist will attempt to run the world's ever first sub two-hour marathon in Vienna, and he looked positive and determined to achieve it in the pre-attempt press conference:

"I am running to make history, to show that no human is limited, it's not about money, it's about showing a generation of people that there are no limits."

"That the limits are all in their thoughts, I am trying to remove that click in their mind that no human is limited."

And you can watch Kipchoge's bid to run the first sub two hour marathon live on Olympic Channel.


12 Oct 2019

Eliud Kipchoge INEOS 1:59 Challenge


"Like going to the moon"

Kipchoge holds the current World Record- a world-beating 2.01.39, set at the Berlin Marathon in September 2018, but says that Berlin and Vienna are planets apart:

"Running Berlin and running Vienna are two different things, Berlin is running and prepping a world record, Vienna is running and making history in this world, like the first man to go to the moon."

"Vienna is running and making history in this world, like the first man to go to the moon" - Eliud Kipchoge

Kenya's distance running hero plans to go where no man has gone before, and the preparations have been meticulous.

Originally planned for London, the Kenyan champ explained why Vienna was eventually chosen as the place where he will attempt to break his own world record:

"First is that Vienna is a sporting city, the crowd loves sport in Vienna, the second is that the course is fast and the third is the park, it's a natural environment, so those are the three reasons."

And what would it mean to Kenya and to Africa?

"I am trying to stay as calm as possible, this means a lot to my country, to my continent."

Pressure:"No human is limited"

When asked about how he is dealing with the pressure around this world-beating bid, Kipchoge said he is keeping calm:

"Pressure is everywhere in this world, I am trying to stay as calm as possible" - Eliud Kipchoge

He was also asked to explain what it would mean to Kenya and the wider African continent:

"This race means a lot to my country, to my continent Africa, it's about actually telling people that there is no-one who sets their limits, that the limits are happening in their minds.

"It's something tangible, it's just happening in their thoughts, so what I am doing is just trying to remove that click in their minds, that no human is limited."

It is also the first time that Kipchoge has brought his wife and three children with him to a major race:

"It's true, it means a lot, I want them to be part of history"

"It's not about money"

When he was asked about how much money he's set to win if he achieves a sub-2 hour marathon, Kipchoge answered:

"I am running to make history, I am running to show no human is limited for a whole generation on this world, and expect to go out to over three billion people on Saturday."

"It's not about money," he continued, "it's about running and making history and changing lives of the people through their thinking."

Kipchoge brought the biggest laugh of the press conference by adding:

"But if you have a price you can give me!"

The story so far

If Kipchoge were to go under two hours for the marathon, it would be the latest in a long list of outstanding achievements for the Kenyan runner.

Coached by 1992 Olympic steeplechase runner-up Patrick Sang, the 34-year-old seems to only improve with age.

A two-time Olympic medallist and world champion over 5000m, Kipchoge has enjoyed his greatest successes since switching to the marathon in 2013.

Eliud Kipchoge wins the 5000m at the 2003 World Championships in Paris from Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenenisa Bekele

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Kipchoge made his marathon debut in Hamburg in April 2013, taking victory in a world-class time of 2:05:30.

Six months later, he was second to London 2012 bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang in Berlin with his fellow Kenyan running what was then a new world record.

He has not been beaten in a marathon since with Kipchoge claiming his first Olympic title at Rio 2016.

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In September last year, he smashed the world record in Berlin.

His time of 2:01:39 was a massive one minute and 18 seconds inside the previous best set by another Kenyan, Dennis Kimetto, on the same course four years earlier.

Speaking to Olympic Channel after that breathtaking run, he said he was hoping to go even quicker "very soon".

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And only in April, he notched up a record fourth London Marathon triumph in a new course record.

It was a quite incredible performance, running from the front from just after halfway and burning off his rivals one by one, to underline his status as the greatest marathon runner in history.

After that 10th consecutive marathon victory, Kipchoge announced he was skipping the IAAF World Championships to focus on a second tilt at breaking two hours.

His first came at Italy's famous Monza motor racing track in May 2017.

Assisted by a team of pacemakers, Kipchoge finished just outside his target in 2:00:25.

Eliud Kipchoge fails in Breaking2 attempt at Monza - May 2017

London was initially mooted as the venue for his second attempt, but in June he announced that he would instead go to Vienna and its Prater public park on the banks of the River Danube.

As well as its "fast and flat track", better and more consistent weather conditions were also cited as reasons for the marathon challenge switch.

And unlike at Monza, spectators will be able to line the route and cheer on Kipchoge and his band of pacemakers.

'Student' Sang confident of success

Kipchoge's mantra is that "No human is limited", and coach Sang admits he and his charge's roles have been reversed in recent times.

Speaking exclusively to Olympic Channel, Sang revealed more about their training regime and how their relationship has evolved over the 18 years they have been together.

And he believes that Kipchoge can do something no man has ever done before.

"The key thing that drives us and gives us a lot of motivation is the mind of the athlete that we are dealing with. The guy is so positive and really focussed." - Patrick Sang on Eliud Kipchoge's sub two-hour marathon challenge

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A team effort

Kipchoge will be led out by a total of 41 pacemakers in Vienna.

They include participants at the recent IAAF World Championships in Doha including 5,000m silver medallist Selemon Barega, and Norway's three Ingebrigtsen brothers.

Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz and double world champion Bernard Lagat are also in the group along with fellow American Paul Chelimo who took silver in the Rio 2016 5000m behind Mo Farah.

There are 15 Kenyans, seven Americans and six Ugandans in the list of 41 pacemakers with no fewer than nine nations represented.

Full list of pacemakers for the 1:59 Marathon Challenge

Thomas Ayeko (Uganda), Selemon Barega (Ethiopia), Emmanuel Bett (Kenya), Hillary Bor (USA), Mande Bushendich (Uganda), Matthew Centrowitz (USA), Paul Chelimo (USA), Augustine Choge (Kenya), Victor Chumo (Kenya), Filip Ingebrigtsen (Norway), Henkrik Ingebrigtsen (Norway), Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway), Philemon Kacheran (Kenya), Stanley Kebenei (USA), Justus Kimutai (Kenya), Shadrack Kipchirchir (Kenya), Noah Kipkemboi (Kenya), Gideon Kipketer (Kenya), Jacob Kiplimo (Kenya), Marius Kipserem (Kenya), Eric Kiptanui (Kenya), Moses Koech (Kenya), Shadrack Koech (Kenya), Micah Kogo (Kenya), Alex Korio (Kenya), Jonathan Korir (Kenya), Ronald Kwemoi (Kenya), Bernard Lagat (USA), Lopez Lomong (USA), Abdallah Mande (Uganda), Stewart McSweyn (Australia), Kota Murayama (Japan), Ronald Musagala (Uganda), Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (Turkey), Jack Rayner (Australia), Chala Regasa (Ethiopia), Brett Robinson (Australia), Nicholas Rotich (Kenya), Patrick Tiernan (Australia), Timothy Toroitich (Uganda), Julien Wanders (Switzerland).

Eliud Kipchoge (white vest), world record holder, Olympic champion poses with his dream team in Vienna. Source: REUTERS