After sensationally breaking the two-hour marathon barrier on Saturday, Eliud Kipchoge wasn’t allowed to rest easy on Saturday night.
Organisers of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge threw a major party for the Olympic marathon champion that went way past 1.59am on Sunday.
Deputy President William Ruto and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner and chairman of chemical company INEOS that put together Saturday’s challenge, were among chief guests at the race’s after-party held right across the finish line at Vienna’s Prater Park.
Kipchoge clocked one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds to break the iconic two-hour barrier in the specially-organised race that attracted a crowd estimated at 120,000 in the Prater Park, Vienna’s largest public park.
As he crowned the speeches section of the party, the DP left guests in stitches when he boasted about what Kipchoge’s record meant for Africa.
“As Africans, we can proudly say ‘who said Africans cannot keep time? Thank you Eliud for keeping the time and for making us proud. We can now walk around proudly and say we can keep time,” he said.
Kipchoge thanked Ratcliffe and INEOS for supporting his quest to be the first man to run the marathon in under two hours.
“The dream came when he (Ratcliffe) was biking in South America and today, his dream has been realised,” the world marathon record holder said, paying glowing tribute to the 41 pacemakers who pushed him below the two-hour mark on Saturday.
Ratcliffe put Kipchoge’s achievement into perspective.
“After seeing the news coverage and twitter feeds, I reckon there’s probably a billion people on the planet today that have realised that something quite significant has happened,” Britain’s richest man said.