Why IAAF won't recognise Kipchoge's sub-2 hour mark

Saturday October 12 2019

Eliud Kipchoge celebrates with his pacemakers, friends and supporters after crossing finish line to break the historic two-hour barrier for a marathon during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019. PHOTO | INEOS 1:59 CHALLENGE |


Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge’s historic feat at “INEOS 1:59 Challenge” in Vienna, Austria can only enter the Guinness Book of World Records but not recognised as a world marathon record.

However, Kipchoge, who made history as the first man to run a marathon under two hours, clocking 1:59:40 in Vienna, is still the World Marathon Record holder in a time of 2:01:39 set in last year's Berlin Marathon.

Several factors are considered by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) for a time or distance in a particular event to be ratified as a World Record.

A particular course or route and stadium must be certified and rated by IAAF measurers to qualify and more so, an event should have at last three competitors for results to stand.

In Kipchoge’s case, the “INEOS 1:59 Challenge” was a controlled race that wasn’t sanctioned by IAAF. Kipchoge was also racing against time (the clock) and nobody else.

While pacesetters are allowed both on track and road racing events, IAAF has a control over them. The 41 pacesetters, who supported Kipchoge came in-and-out in turns hence not allowed in IAAF events.


Notably, athletes in IAAF road races are not guided by a vehicle fitted with a monitor to control the pace while showing the lane athletes should follow like in the case of “INEOS 1:59 Challenge.”

More so, refreshments are taken by competing athletes from official stations but Kipchoge had the luxury of being handed drinks from a bicycle rather than from a table, as required by the IAAF for record-eligible races.

During the race Kipchoge consumed a carbohydrate drink made by Maurten, a Swedish manufacturer, and every time he takes a drink from a bottle and discards it, it would be picked up and weighed to measure exactly how much was consumed, with feedback given to guide future intake.