Kip­choge runs fastest marathon ever but misses goal

Kenyan falls short of breaking two hours by 26 sec­onds

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY DANIELLA MATAR Learn more about the at­tempt to break the two-hour-marathon bar­rier at wash­ing­ton­post.com/graph­ics/ sports/two-hour-marathon.

monza, italy — Eliud Kip­choge was 26 sec­onds from mak­ing his­tory Satur­day, but the Olympic cham­pion fin­ished just short of be­com­ing the first per­son to run a marathon in less than two hours.

Kip­choge ran the 26.2 miles around an oval track in 2 hours 25 sec­onds, smash­ing Den­nis Kimetto’s world mark of 2:02:57 by 21/2 min­utes and rais­ing hopes that one of world sport’s most fa­mous bar­ri­ers can be bro­ken.

“We are hu­man,” Kip­choge said. “I am happy that I’ve re­duced by 21/2 min­utes the world record.”

Kip­choge, from Kenya, added: “We are go­ing up the tree . . . . I have lifted a branch, and I am go­ing on to the next one. This is not the end of the at­tempt of run­ners on two hours.”

Widely con­sid­ered the best marathon run­ner in the world, Kip­choge did break his per­sonal best time of 2:03:05, which was set at the Lon­don Marathon last year.

Kimetto, also from Kenya, 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 [a] marathon is pos­si­ble. That mes­sage is really spe­cial to me.”

It wasn’t a road race. In­stead, run­ners com­pleted 17.5 laps around the 1.5-mile Monza For­mula One track. The Break­ing2 project was held on the 63rd an­niver­sary of Roger Ban­nis­ter breaking the four-minute mile in 1954.

Kip­choge’s time didn’t go down as an of­fi­cial world record, sanc­tioned by the IAAF, be­cause of vari­ables such as pac­ers en­ter­ing mid-race and drinks be­ing given to run­ners via mopeds.

And after three years of plan­ning, Nike’s au­da­cious at­tempt at breaking the two-hour bar­rier re­mained just that, de­spite the aid of a shoe that its de­sign­ers say will make run­ners 4 per­cent more ef­fi­cient.

“I’ve been part of many races over my ca­reer at Nike. I’ve seen the magic of gold shoes and swift suits. I’ve seen iconic ath­letes leave it all on the track,” Nike chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Parker said. “But I’ve never seen any­thing like what we saw to­day.

“To­day, mil­lions of peo­ple around the world watched as run­ning his­tory was writ­ten. At Break­ing2, Eliud Kip­choge ran 26.2 miles faster than any hu­man ever . . . . This achieve­ment rep­re­sents more than a race.

“It’s a mo­ment of global in­spi­ra­tion that will en­cour­age ev­ery ath­lete, in ev­ery com­mu­nity, to push the lim­its of their po­ten­tial.”

LUCA BRUNO/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Olympic marathon cham­pion Eliud Kip­choge set a per­sonal best time but did not fin­ish the 26.2-mile race in un­der two hours.

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