He Just Did What No Runner Has Ever Done Before

'I am the happiest man,' says Eliud Kipchoge, the first person to run marathon in under 2 hours
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2019 7:30 AM CDT
He Just Did What No Runner Has Ever Done Before
Eliud Kipchoge smiles as he talks to the media in a press conference after breaking the two-hour barrier for a marathon in Vienna on Saturday.   (Jed Leicester/The INEOS 1:59 Challenge via AP)

With 20 seconds to spare, Eliud Kipchoge has just done what elite marathon runners have tried to do for years. "I am the happiest man," the Kenyan athlete said Saturday in Austria after completing Vienna's Prater Park marathon in less than two hours—1 hour, 59 minutes, and 40 seconds, to be exact. per CNN. What the New York Times calls Kipchoge's "once-inconceivable" time was achieved two years after he nearly pulled off the same feat in Monza, Italy; he fell 25 seconds short of the milestone in that attempt. The one catch in Kipchoge's achievement Saturday: It won't count as an official world record, as the 34-year-old runner was followed by a car and a roster of professional pacesetters, both of which aren't permitted by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Kipchoge prepped for his big run for four months at a training camp in Kaptagat, Kenya, where the Times notes he led a "monastic existence ... eating, sleeping, and exercising for the sole purpose" of achieving a super-fast running time. The paper details the timeline of Kipchoge's history-making run day, starting with a 4:50am wakeup time and a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Then came a three-hour wait, which he said was the "hardest time ever in my life." When he crossed the finish line, waiting for the three-time Olympic medalist were his wife and kids—it was the first time they'd ever seen him run in person. "Looking at the 1:59:40 time, I got so emotional," he says. "In breaking the two-hour barrier, I want ... open minds to think that no human is limited," Kipchoge adds, per CNN. (More marathon stories.)

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