Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge started his day with the goal of setting another record in Vienna, and he did just that by becoming the first person in history to run a sub-two-hour marathon. Kipchoge's official time, per the Olympic Channel website, was 1:59:40.
Kipchoge set the marathon world record of 2:01:39 in September 2018, but he simply viewed this as an appetizer. As Kipchoge explained, this race in Berlin was extremely different than what he accomplished in Vienna.
"Running Berlin and running Vienna are two different things, Berlin is running and prepping a world record, Vienna is running and making history in this world, like the first man to go to the moon."
HISTORY! pic.twitter.com/qjLfofhL5s— Eliud Kipchoge (@EliudKipchoge) October 12, 2019
To help him accomplish this feat, Kipchoge was flanked during a rotating group of pacemakers. These 41 fellow runners that were donned in black jerseys kept the Kenyan-born runner on pace as they followed green laser lines projected on the road.
"The 41 pacemakers are among the best athletes in the whole world," Kipchoge said after the race. "To all of them I want to say thank you, thank you for doing the job. We made history together."
For Kipchoge, these pacemakers helped lead the way, but they also helped provide the opportunity to simply focus on running instead of anything else. There were five teams led by five captains, which included multiple Olympians and medalists. One captain, Julien Wanders, trains in Kenya with Kipchoge and has familiarity with the runner. As he explained following the race, these captains were responsible for keeping everything on track and proceeding smoothly.
"My role as a captain is very important as Eliud is just supposed to follow me, not think about anything, just follow me, and I have to communicate to the other runners to move forward or back, to move out wider, to put more distance between us and Eliud."
Once he crossed the finish line, Kipchoge hugged his wife and children, as well as his coach, before the pacemakers mobbed him in celebration. This was the first time that his family had watched him race in person, which helped make the finish even more special for the Kenyan.0comments
Interestingly enough, the end of the race was supposed to be choreographed, but that changed when Kipchoge saw the end and knew that the record would be achieved. He waved the pacemakers away and finished the final 200 meters alone while waving and pointing at the crowd.
"Today we went to the Moon and came back to earth! I am at a loss for words for all the support I have received from all over the world," Kipchoge wrote on Twitter following the game. "Thank you to all who gave me the opportunity. Asante."