Kenyan has huge chance
If Eliud Kipchoge, the world’s greatest marathon runner, can’t do it, then surely no one can?
Fortunately, ‘can’t do’ and the name Eliud Kipchoge are polar opposites and certainly shouldn’t be used in any kind of single sentence structure.
The Kenyan, whose relaxed, warm and modest personality is so endearing that you wonder where his ruthless nature derives from during competition, is a man you doubt at your peril.
And the world’s fastest marathoner of all time, at 34, could not be better placed to break the elusive and phantom sub-2 marathon run in Vienna this October.
Kipchoge, who is arguably the best-ever athlete to have honed their trade over the famous 42.195km distance, was convinced to have another stab at the improbable milestone by Jim Ratcliffe (pictured below), the founder and owner of one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, INEOS.
Ratcliffe’s wealth and increasingly growing involvement in a multitude of sports has come at the perfect time, given Kipchoge is at the peak of his powers and needs financial backing, as well as eye of the needle organisation behind him, to succeed.
Back in 2017, in Monza, Kipchoge was the headline act for Nike’s innovative Breaking2 project and ran a quite incredible 02:00:25 marathon, in manufactured race conditions.
The performance of the reigning Olympic, Berlin and London Marathon champion that day provided more than enough evidence that running under two hours was possible.
It should be noted that, due to IAAF rules, Kipchoge’s feat in Italy – incidentally the quickest marathon of all time – does not count in the record books, officially.
Not that that should take anything away from the calibre of Kipchoge’s effort over two years ago.
Since then, the experienced marathoner has shown no signs of slowing down and secured a world record time of 02:01:39 in Berlin last year – bettering Wilson Kipsang’s previous milestone by one minute and 18 seconds.
Anything is seemingly doable when ‘The Philosopher’ gets down to business.
And, here are four reasons why Kipchoge stands a fantastic chance of making history in a few months’ time.
A superb course
The marathon will take place in The Prater – the well-known Viennese park, situated at the heart of the Austrian capital. The venue, which was chosen after an exhaustive assessment process by INEOS, provides the perfect course given it is fast and flat.
The run will consist of a multi-lap, 9.6km route – centred on Hauptallee, a long, straight and tree-lined avenue.
Crucially, the wide and traffic-free roads are surrounded by trees, offering protection from wind and creating an oxygen-rich environment. They are certainly not dubbed ‘the green lungs of Vienna’ for any old reason.
The man himself
Kipchoge is the ultimate professional when it boils down to preparation, attitude and ensuring he is in the best possible physical condition to tackle his next challenge.
With the experience of Nike’s Breaking2 project under his belt and sky-high confidence he can take from his world record run last year and other race victories, he will not want to spurn what could realistically be his last opportunity to smash the sub two-hour barrier.
The Kenyan’s training has already begun in earnest, which is a positively ominous sign.
It is also widely acknowledged that if Kipchoge is unable to go close again, then it could be many more years before another attempt is even considered.
At this present time, it does appear virtually impossible that a sub-2 run could occur outside of an artificially assembled event of this kind.
Hundreds, if not thousands of people, are expected to watch the action unfold at The Prater and that should give Kipchoge a massive lift.
In Monza, space was limited around the circuit track and it was only possible to catch a glimpse of the seasoned marathoner during his finish line stretch, but that will not be the case here.
Kipchoge will undoubtedly receive special support, making the run seem more like a normal marathon. Indeed, The Prater is the bedrock of the city’s running community roots and is weighted in history.
The sub-2 attempt is due to take place on Saturday 12th October, but INEOS have set aside a reserve window of eight days, until 20th October, to reschedule the run should adverse weather conditions come into play.
In addition, the time zone differences between the European city and Kipchoge’s Kaptagat training base are minimal, which should make for a seamless transition.
That is just another factor in which all but ensures the best possible conditions are presented to Kipchoge, as promised by the headline sponsor, to perform at his very best.