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How Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge Made History By Breaking Marathon’s Magical Two-hour Barrier

Kenyan’s Eliud Kipchoge has become the world’s favourite after his performance in Vienna where he became the first athlete to run a marathon under two hours

The feat which one of commentators likened to Neil Armstrong walking on the moon was stage-managed and he was given a level of assistance that is not afforded in marathons sanctioned by the international governing body of athletics, the IAAF.

But Kipchoge has already proven himself to be one of the greatest marathoners of all time, courtesy of holding the official world record, and winning Olympic gold to go along with a string of international race victories.

So how did Kipchoge go about making history in Vienna? And is there hope for the recreational athlete or part-time jogger looking to slash minutes or merely seconds when they next hit the road?

Among the reasons the IAAF did not ratify Kipchoge’s time of one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds as an official world record was his use of in and out pacemakers.

Almost every attempt at a world record on the road or track relies on the presence of pacemakers, however yesterday’s event saw a staggering 41 employed on a rotating basis.

Seven pacemakers surrounded Kipchoge in a V formation for 4.8-kilometre stints, a system devised to not only maintain the required pace at around 2:48 to 2:52 each kilometre, but to also protect him from the impact of wind on what was described as a “pancake flat” course.

The pacemakers were no slouches either, nor were they all marathon specialists.

Among the handpicked 41 were reigning Olympic 1,500m champion Matthew Centrowitz, two-time world championships gold medallist Bernard Lagat, while the Australian contingent included Stewart McSweyn, Brett Robinson and Patrick Tiernan, all national representatives on the track.

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