Marathon superstar Eliud Kipchoge will try to break two-hour barrier | UK News

Running superstar Eliud Kipchoge has announced plans for an audacious second attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier in a marathon.

The four-time London winner finished an agonising 26 seconds short of smashing the symbolic mark in May 2017 in Italy, and is confident he can succeed this time.

Kipchoge – famous for his “no human is limited” mantra – intends to try again in October, with London on the shortlist of cities being considered to hold the special one-off event.

Eliud Kipchoge with coaches Valentijn Trouw and Patrick Sang
Image:
Kipchoge with coaches Valentijn Trouw and Patrick Sang

The Olympic champion travelled to the Iffley Road Sports Complex in Oxford to make the announcement – on the running track where Sir Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954.

“Roger Bannister broke that barrier here on May 6th 1954 and on May 6th 2017 I tried to break the two-hour marathon, so there’s a big relationship,” the Kenyan star told Sky News.

“This time I will try to work not harder, but smarter. I always say that 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the team. The team is absolutely crucial if I am to achieve this.”

He added: “I will work to a programme with my coach. What will be different this time will be my mentality. I’ve learned that if you believe in yourself and train for your goal you can achieve it.”

His previous attempt was backed by a major sportswear company, but this bid to break the iconic barrier is being supported financially by Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of chemicals firm Ineos.

“For anybody involved in endurance sport or athletics, this is the ultimate sporting challenge,” said Sir Jim, himself a keen marathon runner.

“It’s almost superhuman. For anybody who runs to get near a three-minute kilometre is pretty extraordinary. There are very, very few people on the planet who can run at 2:50 pace per kilometre for 42 kilometres. It’s unthinkable, but if anyone can do it, Eliud can.”

Eliud Kipchoge winning the men's elite race in the London Marathon last month
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Kipchoge winning the men’s elite race in the London Marathon last month

Kipchoge holds the official world record of 2:01:39, which he set in Berlin last September. This attempt may not be ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations because he will have to use “pacer” runners dropping in and out of the race at certain times to help keep him running at the speed required to finish in 1:59:59.

He has won the last 10 marathons he has entered and is widely regarded as the greatest marathon runner the sport has ever seen.

October’s event will be broadcast around the world and the public will be invited to cheer him on, something that didn’t happen during the 2017 attempt.

“That was one of the issues in Monza – there was no crowd, so each little thing will make a difference,” Sir Jim added.

Kipchoge told Sky News he will pick a flat course with little elevation and would ideally like to run on a cool day with a temperature of 12C.

If he can find those extra 26 seconds in October, the Kenyan superstar will not just re-write the record books, he will redefine marathon running.

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