(TMU) – In a victory punctuated by the joy of spectators who knew they had just witnessed history, Eliud Kipchoge became the first-ever athlete to complete a marathon in less than two hours in a stunning performance in Austria’s capital, Vienna.
The 34-year-old Kenyan ran the marathon in a groundbreaking achievement Saturday morning, that spanned one hour, 59 minutes and 42 seconds on Vienna’s main avenue, Prater-Hauptallee.
— Eliud Kipchoge (@EliudKipchoge) October 12, 2019
Kipchoge, who already holds the current world record from the Berlin Marathon – which he finished at 2:01:39 – won’t earn a new record from the performance, because Vienna’s Ineos Challenge was not an open competition.
“I am the happiest man,” Kipchoge said to reporters following the marathon. The athlete added that he hopes his performance proves that “no human is limited,” CNN reported.
In a tweet, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulated Kipchoge, saying:
“You’ve done it, you’ve made history and made Kenya proud while at it.
“Your win today, will inspire tens of future generations to dream big and to aspire for greatness,
“We celebrate you and wish you God’s blessings.”
"Hearty congratulations @EliudKipchoge. You've done it, you've made history and made Kenya proud while at it. Your win today, will inspire tens of future generations to dream big and to aspire for greatness. We celebrate you and wish you God's blessings." – President Kenyatta
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) October 12, 2019
Kipchoge was in peak form as the other runners struggled to keep pace with him.
Overjoyed, the soft-spoken runner said:
“I am feeling good.
“After Roger Bannister in 1954 it took another 63 years, I tried and I did not get it – 65 years, I am the first man – I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited.”
“Absolutely remember the 41 pacemakers are among the best athletes ever in the world.
“I can say thank you to them, I appreciate them for accepting and together we made history on this one.
“We can make this world a beautiful world and a peaceful world. My wife and three children, I am happy for them to come and witness history.
“The positively of sport, I want to make it a clean sport and an interesting sport.”
In his previous appearance eat the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Monza, 2017, Kipchoge narrowly missed the record by only 26 seconds – further incentivizing the champs willingness to emerge victorious in Vienna.
The runner also felt pressure before the race as he struggled to sleep, only managing to find rest between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. From then on, he tossed and turned before eating his prerace bowl of oatmeal and counting down to the 8:15 a.m. start time, he told Runner’s World.
Prior to the challenge, Kipchoge spoke to the BBC, where he said:
“That run in Berlin and this run in Vienna are two different things.
“Berlin was running and breaking a world record – Vienna is running and making history, like the first man to go to the moon.