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Organisers unveil starting point for Kipchoge’s marathon record attempt

Thursday August 22 2019

Kenya’s world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge at the Roger Bannister Running Track in Oxford, England, on April 5, 2019 after the announcement that he would make another attempt at Running the marathon in under two hours. PHOTO | GLOBAL SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS |

Kenya’s world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge at the Roger Bannister Running Track in Oxford, England, on May 6, 2019 after the announcement that he would make another attempt at Running the marathon in under two hours. PHOTO | GLOBAL SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS |  

ELIAS MAKORI
By ELIAS MAKORI
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Organisers of Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon record attempt have released further details of October’s race against the clock to be run on a bespoke route in a Vienna park.

Kipchoge will attempt to be the first man to run the 42-kilometre distance in under two hours, a feat, if achieved – and which is highly likely – is, in Kipchoge’s own words, “like man landing on the moon.”

The Vienna race will start on Vienna’s iconic Imperial Bridge, the Reichsbrücke, which is the traditional starting point for the annual Vienna City Marathon, the organisers said in a statement on Wednesday.

October 12 is the date for the attempt which has been put together by giant British chemical company INEOS and dubbed the “INEOS 1:59 Challenge”, given the fact that Kipchoge is aiming at stopping the clock at one hour and 59 minutes, with a leeway of 59 seconds, as long as he dips under 2:00:00.

In a similar attempt choreographed by American sportswear giant Nike in Monza, Italy, in 2017, Kipchoge fell just 26 seconds shy of the record, which means he will have to gain these crucial seconds in Vienna, translating to an improvement of about 0.62 seconds per kilometre which, by Kipchoge’s lofty standards, is achievable.

There’s an eight-day window, between October 12 and 20, for the Vienna attempt, just to be sure the right weather conditions are realised.

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Kipchoge is training for the attempt at his traditional Global Sports Communication and NN Running Team camp in Kaptagat in the company of, among others, Geoffrey Kamworor who Wednesday won the 10,000 metres race at the National Athletics Championships that conclude on Thursday at the Nyayo National Stadium.

“The Reichsbrücke will provide a stunning backdrop as Kipchoge gets his record-breaking attempt underway in October,” organisers said in Wednesday’s statement.

“It straddles the Danube River and connects the Leopoldstadt and Donaustadt districts of the city, offering a breath-taking view of the skyscrapers and the United Nations Office in Vienna.

“The start will see Kipchoge run in the direction of the city centre with a view of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. After approximately 1.2 kilometres, he will reach the Ferris Wheel at the Praterstern roundabout where he will enter The Prater and begin four laps of the Hauptallee, the historic avenue that runs through the heart of the Viennese park,” the statement added.

Vienna City Marathon chief Wolfgang Konrad has been working with INEOS to organise the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.

“Beginning the INEOS 1:59 Challenge on the Reichsbrücke will give the event a start befitting of the epic scale of the task facing Eliud Kipchoge,” Wolfgang Konrad said Wednesday.

“As the start of the Vienna City Marathon, the Reichsbrücke is an iconic image for marathon running and a highly emotional place for hundreds of thousands of runners that have started here over the years. The view to the modern Vienna provides a stunning backdrop to the start of the challenge.”

The organisers also announced that there will be no charges for spectators to witness the historic run.

“Spectators are welcome all along the course with the exception of the relatively short starting section on the Reichsbrücke, which will be reopened for traffic immediately after the runners set off. Tickets are not needed for this free event. Fans are encouraged to come early and get their position on the route,” the organisers said in a statement Wednesday.

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