Marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge has arrived in Vienna for this weekend’s INEOS 1:59 Challenge, otherwise known as his attempt to run a marathon in under two hours. The challenge is scheduled to take place Saturday, October 12, and it was announced yesterday that the “weather window” has been narrowed to between October 12 and October 14. (Previously it was between October 12 and 20.) Here are some other fun facts you need to know.
Vienna here we come! pic.twitter.com/OxV4LPJ4QO
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH?? (@EliudKipchoge) October 7, 2019
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya is, in the opinion of many, the greatest marathoner the world has ever known. He set the world record of 2:01:39 last year at the Berlin Marathon, a year after Nike’s Breaking2 project, in which he ran 2:00:25, missing the goal by 25 seconds.
Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia were also part of Breaking2, but both were outrun by Kipchoge. Tadese was second, in 2:06:51 and Desisa third, in 2:14:10. (Desisa won the New York City Marathon in 2018, was edged out at the line by Lawrence Cherono at this year’s Boston Marathon, and won the marathon at the World Championships in Doha on Saturday.)
Kipchoge is the only runner to win the London Marathon four times (in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019). He has won Berlin twice (2015 and 2018), Chicago once (2014), and is the reigning Olympic champion.
— INEOS 1:59 Challenge (@INEOS159) October 8, 2019
The run will take place on a 4.3K stretch of Vienna’s tree-lined Prater Hauptallee, with turns at either end. (For those familiar with the city, the turns will occur at the Lusthaus and Praterstern roundabouts.) Kipchoge will run 4.4 laps of the out-and-back course. The course is almost completely flat, with a slight elevation change of between 1.8 and 4.0 metres, and, unlike at Breaking2, spectators are allowed to watch.
Will it count as a world record? No–for the same reasons that Breaking2 did not. For one thing, it’s not a regular marathon, and there will be no other participants. Moreover, Kipchoge will be paced by a crew of 41 athletes rotating in and out, with several at a time shielding him from the wind. (Pacers are allowed in world record attempts, but they must start when others start, and once they leave the course they may not return.)
The challenge is scheduled for October 12, with a window until October 14, depending on weather conditions. Organizers have said they will announce the date three days in advance, which means that if it’s happening Saturday, they will announce it Wednesday. The start time will be announced the day before the event. There will be a press conference in Vienna two days before the start date (Thursday, if the event goes Saturday).
— INEOS 1:59 Challenge (@INEOS159) October 7, 2019
According to INEOS, ideal weather conditions for Kipchoge are between 7 C and 14 C, with humidity less than 80 per cent. It likely means the event will start early in the morning local time.
The INEOS 1:59 Challenge will take place on a 4.3K stretch of Vienna’s tree-lined Prater Hauptallee.
To see if it can be done. The quest for a sub-2 marathon has so far eluded humanity’s grasp, but possibly not for much longer.
6️⃣8️⃣ seconds per quarter mile for 2️⃣6️⃣.2️⃣ miles.
— RunnerSpace (@runnerspace) October 8, 2019
Here are the splits Kipchoge will have to average to successfully run 1:59:
400m: 1 minute, 8 seconds
800m: 2 minutes, 16 seconds
1,500m: 4 minutes, 16 seconds
5,000m: 14 minutes, 13 seconds
10,000m: 28 minutes, 26 seconds
Half-marathon: 59 minutes, 59 seconds
How to watch
You can watch the live broadcast by subscribing to the INEOS 1:59 YouTube channel, here. (The event is also being broadcast on a number of TV channels around the world.)
If you’re lucky enough to be in Vienna, spectators are welcome. There is no charge and no ticketing required.