Wednesday, October 16, 2019

When Will the Sub-Two Hour Marathon Happen in Open Competition?


wired |  On Saturday morning in Vienna, Austria, Eliud Kipchoge, the world's finest marathoner, became the first person in history to run 26.2 miles in under two hours. His time of 1:59:40 required him to maintain an average pace of just under 4:35 per mile. That is, to put it mildly, soul-searing speed. Even a supremely fit person would struggle to run at so aggressive a clip for more than five or six minutes in a row. On Saturday, Kipchoge held it for just shy of 120.

But Kipchoge's performance will not be recognized as an official world record. The event was not an open competition; it was held for Kipchoge and Kipchoge alone. What's more, a rotating cast of pacers shielded him from wind throughout the run, and a bicycle-riding support team was on hand at all times to deliver him water and fuel. It was not so much a race, in other words, as an exhibition event designed for speed. A one-man, all-or-nothing time trial.