The athletics fraternity in the country is backing marathon World record holder Eliud Kipchoge in his second attempt to run under two hours in the planned “breaking two” organised marathon race later this year.
On Monday, Kipchoge announced he will have another go at “breaking two” in a specially organised race, probably in London, “between late September and early October.”
In the first attempt at the Nike-engineered “Breaking2” project, Kipchoge, 35, powered by a cocktail of pacemakers on the Monza Formula One race track, ran two hour and 25 seconds, falling agonisingly close to breaking the two-hour barrier on May 6, 2017.
This time around, the race will be funded by one of the richest men in England, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of chemical manufacturing company INEOS.
World marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui, World 800m record holder David Rudisha and Athletics Kenya head coach Julius Kirwa said Kipchoge is capable of dipping under two hours, having tried it before.
“At this rate, anything is quite possible with Kipchoge since he has achieved 99 per cent of what he has planned,” said Kirui, adding that running two fastest times in the history of the marathon is a clear manifestation.
Kipchoge set a new marathon world record last year in Berlin when he triumphed in 2:01:39 and would run the second fastest time after his record, when winning this year’s London Marathon in 2:02:37 on April 28.
Rudisha noted that Kipchoge ran 2:00:25 when his personal best in marathon was 2:03:05.
“It’s now possible for him to run under two hours by virtue of having a world record and the second fastest time in history within seven months,” said Rudisha.
“This will be more of assisted race ion a flat course with different pacesetters picking up from different points.”
Rudisha explained that this is a race geared towards testing human limit and capability and is often different from the usual marathon races.
“It will not be possible to run under two hours right now in the normal marathon race that has challenges unlike this one that is more specific,” said Rudisha.
Kirwa said Kipchoge can achieve his dream, but the race will have some adjustments with the pacesetters quite crucial. “The weather condition that day will also determine,” explained Kirwa.
Among INEOS’s projects is the “Daily Mile” and “GO Run For Fun” charity initiatives that seek to have students in England’s schools stay active.
INEOS also supports Swiss football club, Lausanne-Sport and Britain’s challenge for the iconic America’s Cup sailing competition spearheaded by British sailing legend, Sir Ben Ainslie.
“Two years ago in Monza, the world got to 26 seconds from breaking the last milestone in athletics. This fall I want to break this barrier. Follow the journey on @INEOS159 as I attempt to rewrite history,” Kipchoge posted on Twitter on Monday.
Kipchoge’s stable, Global Sports Communications (GSC), which is based in Nijmegen, Netherlands, further announced that a London venue for the fresh attempt is being considered.
GSC is headed by former Dutch distance running champion Jos Hermens and handles some of the world’s top elite athletes including Kenya’s multiple world cross country champion Geoffrey Kamworor and Ethiopian legends Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele.
“The sub two-hour marathon is the last great barrier of modern athletics. Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s greatest marathon runner, will attempt to break the two-hour barrier in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, a special marathon being run between late September and early October 2019,” GSC said in a statement issued by the management company’s marketing manager Marleen Vink-Rennings on Monday.