NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – A human being has no limitation, Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge believes as he gears up for a historic feat of being the first ever athlete to run a marathon under two hours.
The 31-year old is part of a three-man group picked by sponsors Nike to try and break the two hour barrier in a yet to be announced course in May this year.
“I believe in myself because I am in the project and everything is possible. For the next four months I will be putting all my effort in training for the project,” Kipchoge told Capital Sport.
In the project dubbed ‘Breaking 2’, Kipchoge will be joined by Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea and the three have officially started their Nike-backed build-up towards the ground breaking race.
Their goal is to run 1:59:59 or faster, a pace of 4:34 per mile for 26.2 miles. Nobody has come close to that with the current world record at 2:02:57, set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in 2014.
“There is nothing impossible in this world. I will work hard to try and achieve it because I believe I can. It is all about how much you put in training,” Kipchoge, the two-time London marathon champion said.
In his acceptance speech on Thursday night during the 13th edition of the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) where he was named male Sportsman of the Year, Kipchoge asked Kenyans to pray for him as he takes on the audacious bid.
“May I beg all of you to wish me lack as I prepare to go beyond limitation as I involve in the project ‘Breaking 2′ which will see me running a marathon under two hours,” Kipchoge stated amidst cheers from the crowd.
Nike has a huge scientific staff ready to offer every possible support to achieve this feat and among specifics to be looked at include hydration and nutrition.
But even as the trio prepares to break the barrier and set an unprecedented record, two former record holders Paul Tergat and Haile Gebresellasie don’t believe it is easily achievable.
“There are so many factors that need to be considered for such to happen. The temperature must be right, the course must be favorable, the shape of the athlete and most importantly the pace makers. For such to be achieved, the pace maker must be someone who is able to run at least 2:06:00. It is not easy. Naturally, I don’t think it is possible,” Tergat stated.
His sentiments were shared by Gebresellasie who lowered the world record to 2:03:59 at the 2008 Berlin marathon, adding it would not make sense to him if a sub two-hour marathon is achieved soon.
“It will be possible but not next year or this year. If someone tries to run that time now it will not be normal. I don’t’ accept it being done scientifically; let it come by itself. After seven years, maybe someone can run under two hours,” The Ethiopian athletics legend said.
“I cannot say anything right now but it is better to leave it as it is. It doesn’t make sense if someone runs under two hours right now.”
Kipchoge though will not be cowed with the impossibilities and has vowed to give his all to achieve the same.