NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 11 – All is set for Eliud Kipchoge in Vienna, Austria where he hopes to smash the mythical two-hour barrier for a marathon, whose record he holds.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s historic challenge, Kipchoge said his attempt at becoming the first man to run a marathon under two hours is not motivated by monetary gains, but his ambition to inspire the current and future generations.
Kipchoge said the race will be more than just a sport and notes his motivation to run the marathon is to show the world that only their minds can stop them from success.
Kipchoge is making a second attempt at breaking the two-hour marathon barrier having come 26 seconds close during Nike’s Breaking Two challenge in 2017.
The INEOS 1:59 race will be watched by hundreds of millions across the world, with Deputy President William Ruto already in Vienna to cheer him.
Patrick Sang, Kipchoge’s coach, flew in with Kipchoge from Kaptagat on a private jet.
“When we landed in Vienna, Eliud turned to me and said, “I am ready”. His preparation and training for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Kaptagat over the coming months has gone very well and we are both extremely excited for this Challenge,” stated the coach who has seen Kipchoge grow from a novice to a world-beater.
Olympic and world steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto has backed his ‘brother and great friend’ to achieve his target when he lines up for the INEOS 1:59 challenge on the streets of Vienna on Saturday morning.
Kipchoge, also the world marathon record holder will attempt to become the first man to run a marathon under two hours in the project financially backed by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe through his biochemical company Ineos.
“I believe in him. That is the man we athletes look up to as our role model. He is our mentor and we know that the guy is a great marathoner. He is talented and a hard-working guy and I know that he is going to do it,” Conseslus told Capital Sport.
He added; “When Eliud is focused on something and when he promises that he will deliver something, he will do it. I am praying for him and wishing him all the best. Let him go and fight. He will do it.”
Kipchoge will take to the streets of the Austrian capital on Saturday morning, looking to break the barriers and prove no man is limited.
With optimal conditions and the race not qualifying to class as a world record, Kipchoge has continuously reiterated that it is not about the sport, but his ambition at helping people break their mental barriers.
The 34-year old will start his historic quest on Vienna’s famous imperial bridge, the Reichsbrücke.
After approximately 1.2km he will reach the Ferris Wheel at the Praterstern roundabout where he will enter the Prater and begin 4.4 laps of the tree-lined Hauptallee, the historic avenue that runs through the heart of the Viennese Park.
An electric timing car will be used to control the pace of the race, which will be set at a consistent 2:50 minute per kilometre.
A world-class line-up of 41 pacemakers will be used to help Eliud achieve his goals.
35 pacemakers will run on the day and there are 6 reserve runners. Among the top-class names include World Championship 5000m silver medallist Selemon Barega of Ethiopia, former world 1500m and 5000m champion Bernard Lagat of the USA and the Norwegian Ingebrigtsen brothers – Henrik, Filip and Jakob.
The group also has a host of athletes from his Global Sports Communication training group in Kaptagat.
During the pre-race presser on Thursday, Kipchoge said he is ready for the challenge and believes he has what it takes to achieve his target, having come 26 seconds close during his first attempt in Monza, Italy in May 2017.
The exact time the race starts will be determined by Friday and it will all depend on weather patterns with a window set for between 6am and 1am EAT.
Robby Ketchell, who is leading the weather analysis for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge Performance Team, said:
“We have looked at the weather patterns for Vienna coming through and the current conditions are looking to be optimal for temperature, humidity, wind and precipitation for this Saturday morning.
“We are currently looking at less than 2 m/s wind speed on the start location on the bridge and a temperature of between 5-9 degrees Celcius from 5am-8am on Saturday. After 8am the temperature is looking like it will rise slightly, and humidity will drop slightly.”
“For the challenge we need a 24-hour window of no rain to keep all the surfaces dry and that is currently looking to be the case for Saturday too,” he said.
Kipchoge arrived in Vienna on Tuesday morning, having flown from his training camp in Kaptagat in Kenya and has been acclimatising to Vienna and training on the course for the first time.