NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 2 – Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge still believes running a sub-two hour marathon is possible in future, after missing the target by a mere 25 seconds when he took on the Nike Breaking Two project in Monza, Italy in May.
The 32-year old inspired the world when he ran the fastest marathon ever in optimum conditions at the Formula One track in the Italian city, clocking 2:00:25, standing by his belief that a human being has no limitation.
And now, Kipchoge believes compatriot Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57 world record set in Berlin in 2014, will fall soon and the new mark might just be below two hours.
“I believe it’s possible; either me or someone else. I hope in future I might take up that or another challenge, but now I am not thinking about it much. Now, I just want to relax and enjoy myself and celebrate that historic run,” the Olympic champion told Capital Sport.
Kipchoge took on the challenge set up by his sponsors Nike, alongside two other elite athletes, Eritrean Zersenay Tadese and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa.
It was a race ran under optimum conditions for a record pace with pacemakers being given specific instructions while a car rolled behind them beaming a green line on the road to show the required speed for the sub-two hour target.
According to Reuters, The Monza track was chosen for its wide, sweeping curves, lack of undulation and cool, low-wind environment. The runners were also delivered essential fluids on the move by moped in order to prevent them slowing down at feeding stations.
Nike also made a specific shoe for the athletes, one that would provide them the ideal bounce and conditions to ensure perfect comfortable running conditions.
The sub-two hour mark required a pace below four minutes and 35 seconds per mile, which the determined Kipchoge managed to match until falling behind the pace car in the last two laps of the 2.4 km circuit.
Kipchoge completed the first half of the race in 59:57, just one and a half minutes off the official half-marathon world record set by Tadese.
The Olympic champion has described the preparation and actual race as one of his longest and toughest athletics journeys.
“I feel good to be the first man to run two hours flat and I am satisfied with my results. I can’t regret that I didn’t get to the target. The race was the highest of all races ever and it needed all dedication and a big heart to race,” he explained.
“It took seven months to prepare; it was tough and hectic, but I was motivated enough not to give up on the goal. It took a lot of energy from me both physically and mentally. It is the longest ever journey in athletics and I am glad I was part of it,” he added.
He has sent a heartfelt message of thanks to his fans and supporters for the push they gave him to take on the historic challenge.
“I want to thank them so much. They gave me the push to work hard daily and they now know that a human being has no limits. It is really good to go beyond your limitations,” he affirmed.
Having pulled out of the Kenyan team for the August IAAF World Athletics Championships in London, Kipchoge says he will be taking a further one month for rest and recovery before rolling out his plan for the next marathon.
Most are touting him to go for the Berlin Marathon in September for a possible assault on the world record with the Berlin course providing prime conditions to run lower than Kimetto’s record.
Enroute to winning the London marathon last year, Kipchoge ran only eight seconds outside the record, finishing in 2:03:05 and would have easily lowered it had he not slowed down in the final kilometer. He visibly showed his disappointment with a smack on his face amid a wild grin.
At the same time, Kipchoge believes the Kenyan team to the World Championships will bring the gold home, even in his absence. Among them is Daniel Wanjiru who succeeded him to the London Marathon throne this year.
“I think the three guys are really good and a blend of youth and experience will ensure good tactics and the gold medal. I wish them all the best and I am confident they will conquer,” a confident Kipchoge offered.