With just 39 days to D-Day, both organisers of the “INEOS 1:59 Challenge” and the race’s pacemakers are growing in confidence that Eliud Kipchoge will break the two-hour marathon barrier in Vienna next month.
Last weekend, the organisers held a major dress rehearsal at Vienna’s The Prater around where the attempt will be made on October 12.
“The team tested elements such as the race management operations, athlete facilities, pacing plans, broadcast plans and timing systems,” British firm INEOS, who are funding the “INEOS 1:59 Challenge,” said in a statement on Sunday night. “The aim was to ensure nothing is left to chance in the bid to give Kipchoge the best.”
“We have had around 150 people, ranging from our operational teams, broadcast teams, performance teams, timing teams, pacemakers, and more, come together for a series of tests to ensure nothing is left to chance when we come back to Vienna,” Team INEOS’ CEO Fran Miller added.
Valentijn Trouw, athletes manager at Kipchoge’s management company Global Sports Communication, who co-ordinated the pacemaker tests, was equally upbeat: “All the pacemakers involved in the Challenge who came to Vienna this weekend, and those who could not make it, are very excited and honoured,” the Dutchman said.
“For the pacemakers to even run five kilometres or 10 kilometres at the pace Eliud Kipchoge has to run a marathon in under two hours is not easy, and they all had to work very hard. The good news is the pacemakers ran very well, the formations looked great and we took some key learnings from this weekend that we will look to perfect over the coming weeks as we look to continue to test and analyse several pacing formations before making any final decisions.”
One of the pacemakers, former world junior champion and Commonwealth 5,000 metres gold medallist Augustine Choge, who is Kipchoge’s long-time friend and training partner at Kaptagat, was equally delighted after the tests.
“The rehearsal went well. The course is great, the team excited about the event and co-operation was excellent,” he told Nation Sport from Vienna. “The locals were also really supportive. Come October 12, history will be made.”
Indeed, I can’t wait to see history made!