Eliud Kipchoge on his INEOS 1:59 Challenge

From left: Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei, world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, Athletics Kenya vice-president Paul Mutwii, legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino, and Eliud’s coach Patrick Sang share a moment at Kenmosa Village in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on September 16, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA |

What you need to know:

  • Eliud will make an attempt to run a marathon in the 1:59 challenge, in Vienna, Austria next month.
  • Organisers of October 12 record run attempt release list of 13 more pacemakers
  • World marathon record holder oozes confidence ahead of his attempt to become the first man to run the marathon in under two hours

Eliud Kipchoge says he’s mentally prepared for next month’s challenge in Vienna where he will attempt to become the first man to run the marathon in under two hours.

He spoke in media conference call on Wednesday as organisers of the record run attempt - dubbed “INEOS 1:59 Challenge” - released a list of 13 more pacemakers who will aid the Kenyan Olympic champion and world marathon record holder in his attempt on October 12 in the Austrian capital.

Among the latest batch of pacemakers is Marius Kipserem who set a course record time of 2:04:11 to win this year’s Rotterdam Marathon, British chemical firm INEOS, who are bankrolling Kipchoge’s latest attempt, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Another Kenyan Eric Kiptanui, the sixth fastest man ever over the half-marathon distance (58 minutes and 42 seconds), along with compatriot, 2008 Olympic 10,000 metres bronze medallist Micah Kogo and Ethiopia’s Chala Regasa, the sixth fastest man in the world over 10km (27:23) are among the new pacers.


Some of the pacemakers were involved in a test run last month.

“It was a fantastic experience to be part of the testing for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna. All of us there were able to learn a great deal about what will be expected of us on the day of the challenge itself when it is our aim to come together as one team and help Eliud Kipchoge make history,” Kipserem said in the INEOS statement.

Speaking from his Kaptagat training base on conference call on Wednesday, Kipchoge said nothing much had changed in his training from his last attempt in 2017 when he fell just 26 seconds shy of dipping under 2:00 in a Nike-orchestrated attempt in Monza, Italy.

“With 25 days to go I can assure you that I’m feeling good, I’m happy with the way I’ve been training and I’m ready for the challenge,” said Kipchoge, 34.

“The training has been going on well and I’ve not changed anything in training, the only thing is the mental change.”

He congratulated his training partner and NN Running Team club-mate Geoffrey Kamworor on shattering the world half marathon record in Copenhagen last Sunday, saying it indicated the philosophy at their Kaptagat Camp where his coach of 19 years, Patrick Sang, calls the shots along with a pool of coaches, physiotherapists – led by the veteran Peter Nduhiu – and the Global Sports Communication support team headed by athletes’ manager Valentijn Trouw.

“It’s been an inspiration and shows that we are doing a good job at Kaptagat,” the Olympic champion observed.

Kipchoge paid tribute to his legion of fans in Kenya who he said have motivated him and keep him going as he prepares for the Vienna run.

He said although he will not have a feel of the course before the run on October 12, he’s happy with the route.

“Some two weeks ago the pacemakers were on the course and I’m confident it’s the best course… I’m only waiting for the big day!” he said.

Always his philosophical self, Kipchoge quoted a Nandi saying in reference to the Monza attempt and his latest Vienna challenge: “A rabbit cannot escape for two seasons. It escaped in Monza, but it will not escape again in Vienna.”

He added that he was “finalising some few things” on his Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite shoes he will run in at the Vienna attempt, hinting at some adjustments from the shoe he wore last year in September when he clocked a new world marathon record of 2:01:39.

Kipchoge is usually involved in research and development of his own running shoes in partnership with American sportswear giants Nike.