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Marathon runner aims to break two-hour barrier

  • Author:Linki
  • Source:https://www.chinadaily.com.cn
  • Release on :2019-10-10
Marathon runner aims to break two-hour barrier


Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge will be in illustrious company if he manages to run the first sub-2-hour marathon — a boundary of human endurance that has resisted every attempt to break it.

Success would rank alongside individual sporting achievements that include British runner Roger Bannister breaking the 4-minute mile; Nadia Comaneci, from Romania, becoming the first gymnast awarded a perfect 10; Jamaican Usain Bolt sprinting 100 meters in 9.58 seconds; and Germany's Steffi Graf holding the world No 1 ranking in women's tennis for 377 consecutive weeks.

It would also sit comfortably alongside other incredible human efforts.

These include: the first free-solo ascent of El Capitan, the vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, California, by United States climber Alex Honnold; Austrian sky diver Felix Baumgartner's highest free-fall parachute jump 39 kilometers above Earth; and the first confirmed ascent of Qomolangma — known in the West as Mount Everest — by New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary and Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Team Ineos CEO Fran Millar spoke about the logistics of the challenge, the extensive preparations for the event and why Kipchoge was chosen.

"Eliud is in the prime of his career, 34 years old, and with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and other big-city marathons coming up, it felt like a ‘now or never opportunity'," Millar said.

"We'll give him all the very best support we can, and we anticipate he will be in top form. Then, I think it will be down to whether he ‘has it in the tank'.

Regardless of whether he achieves his target, the scale of Kipchoge's accomplishments is remarkable. For example, at the first Olympic marathon in Athens, Greece, in 1896, the winner only just broke 3 hours, finishing in 2 hr 58 min.

The possibility of failure is a key factor in such sporting endeavors, and the organizers have embraced this in their marketing. "With all sport — the excitement of it and why we love it — is that element of the unknown, the risk of it, the ‘will-they-or-won't-they' factor," Millar said.

For pacing, Kipchoge will be accompanied by five to seven elite marathon and middle-distance runners.

None of them can match his pace for the duration of the event, so they will swap in and out and run with him for sections of just 5 or 10km. To keep him supplied with fluids, a cycle rider will draw alongside him as he runs.

Thousands of fans will cheer him on along the route, and the event will be broadcast worldwide, with many live feed agreements already in place.

Kipchoge, who has been preparing for his record attempt at his training camp in Kaptagat, Kenya, said he is confident that history will be made.

"I learned a lot from my previous attempt and I truly believe that I can go 26 seconds faster than I did in Monza two years ago," he said. "It gives me great pride to accept the challenge presented by Ineos. I am very excited to show the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

"This time, I'm feeling superb and I know what will happen. I will break the two-hour barrier."

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