The Fast Facts on Eliud Kipchoge’s 1:59 Marathon

15 facts about the event that broke all expectations about the speed limits of endurance running.


Photo Nike

In case you haven’t heard, 34-year-old marathoner Eliud Kipchoge has become the first man to run a full marathon distance in under two hours on 12th October, at the carefully planned INEOS 1:59 Challenge. The technically challenging event was months in the making, and here are the facts:

1. The officially recorded finishing time was 1:59:40.

2. The event took place in Prater Park in Vienna, Austria. It included a 1.2km run from the city’s Reichsbrücke Bridge to the Praterstern roundabout, after which Kipchoge and his pacing team completed four flat, 9.6km laps in the tree-shaded park and a final stretch to hit the marathon distance.

3. The morning of the event saw temperatures of around 9°C.

4. Title sponsor INEOS, a petrochemical company owned by the richest man in Britain, Jim Ratcliffe, is rumoured to have poured £15mil into the event’s setup and execution.

5. Eliud Kipchoge has been coached by Patrick Sang since the beginning of his racing career.

6. A team of 41 pacers swapped in and out along the way to help Eliud stay on pace, and also to serve as his mobile windbreaker. A leading pace car with a laser guide helped the team maintain a consistent pace.

7. Kipchoge and all the pacers have been tested both in and out of competition by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), which is the same testing unit used by the World Marathon Majors.

8. The event started at 8.15AM.

9. Every km of the marathon was covered in a time of 2:48 – 2:52.

10. Kipchoge hit his 10km split in 28:20, and the 21km mark in 59:35.

11. Kipchoge consumed a carbohydrate drink made by Maurten, a Swedish manufacturer, during the event. Every time he took a drink from a bottle and discarded it, it was picked up and weighed to measure exactly how much was consumed, with feedback given to guide future intake.

12. This is not Eliud Kipchoge’s first attempt at running a sub two-hour marathon distance. In May of 2017, he came up just shy of the two-hour mark during Nike’s Breaking2 project, finishing with a time of 2:00:25 at a racetrack in Monza, Italy.

13. Kipchoge wore a bespoke version of the Nike Vaporfly trainers called the AlphaFLY during the event. The shoe features a carbon fibre plate to help propel athletes forward, and Nike research says that they give an improved metabolic efficiency of at least 4 per cent.

14. The timing from the INEOS 1:59 Challenge will not be officially counted for record purposes because standard competition rules for pacing and fluids weren’t followed.

15. Eliud Kipchoge holds the official world record for the fastest marathon with his performance at the 2018 Berlin race, when his 2:01:39 finish shaved 78 seconds off the previous mark. He then won his fourth London Marathon in April of 2019. All up, it puts his marathon win streak at 10 straight, including an Olympic gold in 2016.

Find out more at the event’s official website:


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