Eliud Kipchoge runs on his way to break the historic two hour barrier for a marathon in Vienna. He became the first athlete to run a marathon in less than two hours, although it will not count as a world record. The Olympic champion and world record holder from Kenya clocked 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds Saturday at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, an event set up for the attempt. Photo: Jed Leicester/The INEOS 1:59 Challenge via AP
IT WAS FAST. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. IT WAS INSPIRING. Eliud Kipchoge you beauty! 1:59:41. Really? That is an insane time for a marathon, right? But then again as the great Kenyan has been saying, ‘No Human Is Limited’.

Our own Gerda Steyn proved it earlier this year when she became the first woman to run the Comrades Marathon Up Run in under six hours.

Scaling heights initially perceived impossible is always a great feat to celebrate. And boy was the excitement palpable yesterday when Kipchoge broke the sub 2 hour barrier in a marathon!

Suddenly, even I find myself firmly believing that the seemingly elusive Sub 7:30 at Comrades has to fall at the third attempt next year.

Belief! That is what Kipchoge wanted to give us. He articulated this much after his epic run.

A run that, while it did not induce the same unbridled emotions as when he ran the official world marathon record in Berlin last year, left the man super delighted. He punched his chest a la King Kong, pointed at the crowd and called on them to cheer him on as some of his pacesetters punched the air with joy while he sped towards the finish.

You know a man is a special talent when he still has that kind of energy and speed at the end of a 42.2km ran at the kind of breakneck speed (average of 2min 50sec a kilometre) they did out in Vienna yesterday.

Mere mortals like us huff and puff as we approach the finish of a marathon. Not only did he speed up though, but he still had the energy to run around in celebration.

The success of the Ineos 1:59 Challenge is no doubt going to serve as the inspiration it was intended to. And as Kipchoge said, it will "tell people that no human is limited".

Magnificent an achievement for the Human Race as it was, the reality is that it will not count as an official world record given it was not achieved under normal circumstances. It was not a real race and Kipchoge was aided by those pacemakers who protected him from the drought and the seconding team were on bicycles.

But as was the case with the failed Breaking Two attempt in Monza back in 2017, Ineos 1:59 Challenge will see runners beginning to believe they can run much faster. Damn, it will make just about everyone who watched realise that the only limit to achieving their goals is themselves.

That Kipchoge broke the world record in Berlin last year was thanks, in part, to the confidence he had gained from Monza.

2:01:39 - the fact that Kenenisa Bekele came to within two seconds of that record in winning this year’s edition of the great German marathon suggests the record will fall soon.

A legacy. That is what Kipchoge says he wants to leave behind. Not that he needed to run Ineos to achieve that, the man’s achievements in official marathons have given him legendary status already.

After yesterday’s feat, he will now not only be a legend in road running but a legend period.

He spoke of Roger Bannister (the first man to run a mile under four minutes) and Neil Armstrong who was the first man to land on the moon as he explained his drive behind wanting to run a marathon in under two hours.

Yes, the run was ‘gimmicky’. But there can be no denying just how massive the achievement is. Now he aims to run under 2hr in a real marathon. Go for it Eliud! You've inspired us to go for our own goals.


Independent on Saturday