Kipchoge falls 26 seconds short of first sub 2-hour marathon

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge was 26 seconds short of running the first marathon in under two hours on Saturday.

Kipchoge ran the 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometres) around an oval track in an impressive 2 hours, 25 seconds, unofficially smashing Dennis Kimetto’s world mark of 2:02:57 by 2 1/2 minutes and raising hopes that one of world sport’s most famous barriers can be broken.

“We are human. We are going up the tree … I have lifted a branch and I am going onto the next one,” Kipchoge said. “This is not the end of the attempt of runners on two hours.”

The time will not be an official world record, sanctioned by the IAAF, due to variables like pacers entering mid-race and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.

Considered the best marathon runner in the world, Kipchoge broke his personal best of 2:03:05 set at the London Marathon last year. Kimetto set the world mark in Berlin in 2014.

Organizers first listed Kipchoge’s time as a second faster, then changed it to 25 seconds off the two-hour mark.

“I rank this as the highest-ever performance in my life,” Kipchoge said. “The aim of ‘Breaking2’ was to pass the message that running less than two-hour marathon is possible. That message is really special to me.”

It wasn’t a road race, with runners completing 17.5 laps around the 1.5-mile Monza Formula One track. The attempt was held on the 63rd anniversary of Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile in 1954.

Nike planned the record attempt for three years, including making shoes it said made runners four per cent more efficient. The Monza track was selected after extensive research that included average temperature, air pressure, and wind levels.

Two-time Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa, from Ethiopia, and half-marathon world-record holder Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea were also part of the attempt, which started at 5:45 a.m. local time. They tried to help pace Kipchoge.

Desisa was dropped after 50 minutes, with Tadese falling back shortly afterwards. The duo still completed the marathon with Tadese shaving nearly four minutes off his personal best in 2:06:51. Desisa finished in 2:14:10.

That left just Kipchoge chasing the landmark time.

He passed the halfway mark in 59:54, but his average pace of 4:36 per mile was not quite enough, despite a final sprint to the tape.

Kipchoge needed an average of less than 4:35 per mile — an improvement of about seven seconds per mile on Kimetto’s record, or around 2.5 per cent.

“I tried to maintain the pace,” Kipchoge said. “As a human you are not a machine so you cannot go 2.50 exactly, and those micro-seconds really have an effect.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer rings in the Chinese New Year

A couple hundred fill Festival Holiday to ring in the Year of the Dog

WATCH: From humble beginnings Red Deer-based wrestling promotion is growing

It wasn’t that long ago that Dylon Featherstone and the Canadian Wrestling… Continue reading

Popular Red Deer store to apply for cannabis dealer licence

At least one Red Deer store hopes to sell cannabis out of… Continue reading

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

WATCH: Polar dippers brave icy water to raise money for Sylvan Lake charities

The water may have been cold, but the amount of money raised… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

WATCH: Polar dippers brave icy water to raise money for Sylvan Lake charities

The water may have been cold, but the amount of money raised… Continue reading

WATCH: Cat yoga — the purr-fect de-stresser, says Red Deer-area cafe owner

Felines and humans stretch together each month at Alley Cat Cafe

Effect of electronics on students to be discussed at Central Alberta Teachers’ Convention

Thousands of area instructors will gather on Feb. 22 and 23 at RDC

Judge critical of sentencing laws

Court of Queen’s Bench justice argues sentencing options for first-degree murder too limited

Liberals write off $200 million in student loans feds will never collect

The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding… Continue reading

Trudeau takes wing on trade mission to India, where Sikh politics loom

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to India,… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month