Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge may not have been a household name earlier today, but with a single superhuman feat he’s immortalised himself in history.
The 34-year-old has become the first man to run a marathon in under two hours, recording a time of 1:59:40.2 over 42.2km in the Ineos Challenge, Vienna.
Kipchoge redefined the limits of what was thought to be humanly possible on Saturday evening, making good on a failed attempt to bust the mythical barrier two years ago in Monza, Italy.
Accompanied by a group of 41 pacemakers and a car leading the charge, Kipchoge etched his herculean effort into the annals of time.
“I am the first man – I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited,” Kipchoge said.
“We can make this world a beautiful world and a peaceful world. My wife and three children, I am happy for them to come and witness history.”
To break down the mind-boggling numbers, Kipchoge ran 100-metres in 17-seconds 422 times in a row.
However, his feat will not be recognised as an official world record because it was not done in open competition, instead using a team of rotating pacemakers in a specially designed event.
Kipchoge had said earlier this week that his upcoming attempt in Austria was about “making history in this world, like the first man to go to the moon”.
“I just have to make that click in people’s minds that no human is limited,” he said at the time.
He reached the halfway mark in 59.35 seconds, 11 seconds inside the target, and ran remarkably consistently with his one-kilometre times fluctuating between 2.48 and 2.52 seconds.
For the last kilometre, the pacemakers and car peeled away and Kipchoge pointed to the crowd and smiled as he completed the run.
Kipchoge, who before the race compared the achievement to landing on the moon, said it was the biggest athletics milestone since Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile barrier in 1954.
“I am feeling good, after Roger Bannister it took another 65 years to make history,” he said.
“Now I’ve gone under two hours to inspire other people and show the world that nobody is limited.”
“I can say I’m tired. It was a hard run. Remember, the pacemakers are among the best athletes in the world, I appreciate them for doing the job.”
The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) has said it would not recognise the run as an official record because it was not in open competition and it used in and out pacemakers although its president, Sebastian Coe, had welcomed the record attempt.