Eliud Kipchoge: a run/time for the ages critiqued

As most sports fans will now be aware, yesterday Kenyan superstar marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge ran the marathon 42km (26.2 mile) distance in a scarcely believable 1hr 59min 40.2secs. It is of course the first time the distance has been run in under two hours.

The Nike prototype next generation shoes Kipchoge wore yesterday would cost £350 to buy.

The course in Vienna was also manicured down to the last conker being removed from the course in Prater Park, Kipchoge had different pacemakers to match sub-two-hour speed every few kms.

He also had a car driving in front of him for most of the course with a laser pointing exactly to sub two-hour marathon time.

The course was chosen pretty much totally flat and in October so as to maximize the possibility of there being no wind or rain and within one hour of the timezone the 34 year-old lives in so as to be as close to his natural body clock as possible.

Drafting is of course also an issue. With Kipchoge located in the middle of a group of pacemakers, the wind resistance is reduced. Drafting is usually more relevant in cycling than long distance running due to the usually very sizable difference in speed. The speed being run at by the Olympic champion in Vienna yesterday was cycling speed though (certainly cyclists cycling in any conditions aside from downhill).

In conclusion, I can therefore see why the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is not counting it as a world record for the record books. It is 21km/h over 42km though! Try 21km/h on a treadmill and see how long you last. It’s also 420 sub 17second 100metre runs back-to-back!

What remains almost certain now is that the sub two-hour marathon will be run in competition/under competitive ruling which is allowed for purposes of world record classification.

What’s next? A sub nine-second 100metres? You might laugh at me now, but maybe not in the (not too distant) future!

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