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Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge makes history by running a marathon in under two hours

Eliud Kipchoge celebrating his under 2 hour marathon run in Vienna, Austria, 12 October, 2019.
Eliud Kipchoge celebrating his under 2 hour marathon run in Vienna, Austria, 12 October, 2019. Herbert Neubauer AFP

Eliud Kipchoge has become the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours, beating the mark by 20 seconds.The 34 year old's sporting achievement in Vienna, Austria on Saturday was greeted with joy and pride in his native Kenya. 

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"I'm feeling good. After Roger Bannister made history, it took me another 65 years. I've tried but I've done it," said the Kenyan, referring to Britain's Sir Roger Bannister who made running history in 1954.

Kipchoge ran the 42.2 kilometres in one hour 59 minutes 40 seconds in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, which was broadcast live on all Kenya's television stations.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta quickly issued his "hearty congratulations".

"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 continued.

World record holder

Kenya's vice-president William Ruto, who had made the trip to Vienna, sent out a series of tweets.

"A blistering 1.59.40! Congratulations @EliudKipchoge for the historic achievement in shattering the sub-two-hour barrier for the marathon; you are arguably the greatest runner of all time."

Kipchoge already holds the world record for the distance with a time of 2hr 01min 39sec, which he set in the flat Berlin marathon on 16 September, 2018.

Kipchoge's mother Janet Rotich watched the race from her home village Kapsisiywa.

"I am happy today because he has won in Kenya and in the world. I thank him so much for this, for me, for Kenya and the world," she said.

Result not counted as official record

However, the race will not be recognised as the official marathon world record by the International Association of Athletics Federations because it was not in open competition and he used a team of rotating pacemakers.

Kipchoge was assisted by a team of 42 pacemakers, including Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz, Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Paul Chelimo, the Ingebrigtsen brothers Jakob, Filip and Henrik and world champion Bernard Lagat anchoring the final leg.

Coaches were on hand to provide Kipchoge with water and energy gels by bike so that he didn't have to pick up refreshments up from a table as in normal competition marathons.

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