Eliud Kipchoge attempting to break marathon two-hour barrier
The record attempt will not stand officially due to IAAF rules
By David Fraser
Last Updated: 12/10/19 9:33am
On Saturday morning Eliud Kipchoge will look to achieve what no human being has ever done before - run a marathon in under two hours.
As with running the 100 metres in under 10 seconds and the mile in under four minutes, the two-hour barrier for the marathon would represent a landmark in not only world athletics but in human achievement as well.
In order to break the two-hour barrier, Kipchoge will have to run an average of four minutes and 34 seconds for each mile. That equates to running 17.08 seconds for every 100 metres he runs.
Cheered on by an expected 250,000 spectators, the race will take place in Vienna early on Saturday morning, starting on the Imperial Bridge - the Reichsbrucke - before a 1.2km run to the park where Kipchoge will then run 4.4 laps of the tree-lined Hauptallee, the historic avenue that runs through the heart of the park.
An electric-timing car will be used to control the pace of the race, which will be set at a consistent 2:50-minute-per-kilometre.
Kipchoge has the right pedigree to break new ground. In May 2017, he made a similar attempt to break the barrier, completing 26.2 miles around the Monza Formula One racetrack in two hours and 26 seconds.
The 34-year-old then set an official world record of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds in the Berlin Marathon last year.
However, should he break the barrier this time around, it would not count as a world record.
The reason for this is because Kipchoge is the only entrant in the race, despite running alongside pacemakers such as five-time Olympian Bernard Lagat. The pacemakers will dip in and out of each lap and offer protection from the wind, which would contravene IAAF rules.
A world record attempt would be valid if the pacemakers did not rejoin the race. That is not the case on this occasion.
Organisers have declared that Saturday's weather conditions will be optimal for the record attempt and Kipchoge will have a window between 5am and 9am Central European Time to begin the race.
At a time when the sport of athletics continues to deal with negative publicity, Kipchoge is hoping to restore a little faith in endurance running.
"I think actually this is a noble cause." he said. "And I will give you an example. In the garden there are flowers and there are weeds. So in Vienna, we are talking about the flowers. Let us concentrate on the flowers. We can prosper and make everyone in this world be happy."