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Kipchoge’s sub-2hr marathon set for Vienna

Eliud Kipchoge will attempt to break the two-hour marathon barrier — the last great landmark in modern athletics — in Vienna in October © AFP/File / Ben STANSALL

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jun 27 Eliud Kipchoge will attempt to break the two-hour marathon barrier — the last great landmark in modern athletics — in Vienna in October, his London-based INEOS 1:59 Challenge team announced Thursday.

The Kenyan world record holder will attempt the unprecedented feat in the Prater park in the Austrian capital on October 12, with an eight-day window to October 20 in case of bad weather.

“This is a golden chance for me to make history and show the world that no human is limited,” said Kipchoge.

The effort will be run in 9.6-kilometre laps of the park’s dead-straight Hauptallee tree-lined avenue. Kipchoge will change direction on a roundabout at each end.

In his previous attempt at running the first-ever sub-two-hour marathon on the Monza Formula One racetrack in Italy in 2017, Kipchoge completed the 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometre) distance in 2:00:25.

The in-form marathon great is preparing for his new record attempt at his Kaptagat training camp in Kenya, 2,400 metres (7,900 feet) above sea level.

“Vienna has a fast and flat course, nicely protected by trees,” the 34-year-old said.

Since Monza, Kipchoge set the official world record of 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

His last outing was at the 2019 London Marathon in April, which he won in 2:02:37 — the second-fastest time ever recorded in an official race.

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“This gives me further belief that I can break two hours,” he said, given that he went into Monza with a personal best of 2:03:05.

The Olympic champion is skipping the biennial 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha from September 27-October 6 to concentrate on the record attempt.

– Finding 26 seconds –

Vienna was chosen after meeting particular criteria, as Kipchoge looks to shave off a second per mile from his 2:00:25 Monza landmark.

They included a fast, flat and straight track; fresh air due to the horse chestnut trees; wide, traffic-free and illuminated roads with space for spectators; optimum performance weather conditions in October, and a one-hour time difference from Kipchoge’s training camp.

The course is 165 metres above sea level, while the Vienna average weather conditions are 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), with six days of rain in the month.

The attempt will be run in the early morning, to match Kipchoge’s training patterns.

As at Monza, pacemakers will be rotated in and out — one of the factors that would prevent the feat of human achievement from being an official world record sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

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