Kipchoge runs fastest marathon ever but misses goal
Kenyan falls short of breaking two hours by 26 seconds
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.”
Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge set a personal best time but did not finish the 26.2-mile race in under two hours.