KIRSTY COVENTRY has joined the army of those praising Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge for becoming the first human to run the marathon in less than two hours.
The Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister took to Twitter to hail the Kenyan who achieved that feat in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday.
“Talk about getting out of your comfort zone. This is how legends are made,’’ said Coventry.
“Huge congratulations to @EliudKipchoge for being the first human in history to run a sub 2 hour marathon.”
The Kenyan, 34, covered the 26.2 miles (42.2km) in one hour 59 minutes 40 seconds in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge.
It will not be recognised as the official marathon world record because it was not in open competition and he used a team of rotating pacemakers.
“This shows no-one is limited,” said Kipchoge.
“Now I’ve done it, I am expecting more people to do it after me.”
The Olympic champion — who holds the official marathon world record of 2:01:39, set in Berlin, Germany in 2018 — missed out by 25 seconds in a previous attempt at the Italian Grand Prix circuit at Monza in 2017. Knowing he was about to make history on the home straight, the pacemakers dropped back to let Kipchoge sprint over the line alone, roared on by a large crowd in the Austrian capital.
The four-time London Marathon winner embraced his wife Grace, grabbed a Kenyan flag and was mobbed by his pacemakers, including many of the world’s best middle and long-distance runners.
Kipchoge, who compared the feat to being the first man on the moon in build-up to the event, said he had made history just as Britain’s Sir Roger Bannister did in running the first sub four-minute mile in 1954.
“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.
“This shows the positivity of sport. I want to make it a clean and interesting sport. Together when we run, we can make it a beautiful world.”
With a leading pace car beaming green lasers on to the road to indicate the required pace of 2:50 per kilometre, Kipchoge never went slower than 2:52.
To break the mark, he had to run 100m in 17.08 seconds 422 times in a row at a speed of 21.1kph (13.1 mph).
He was 10 seconds ahead of schedule at the halfway mark, before appearing to slow with a few 2:52 kilometres, only to regain the pace and kick on in the final stages.
Kipchoge was assisted by a team of 42 pacemakers, including Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz, Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Paul Chelimo and the Ingebrigtsen brothers Jakob, Filip and Henrik.
They rotated in and out, running in formation around Kipchoge, with former 1 500m and 5 000m world champion Bernard Lagat anchoring the final leg.
“They are among the best athletes in the world — so thank you,” added Kipchoge. “I appreciate them for accepting this job. We did this one together.”
Kipchoge’s coaches delivered him water and energy gels by bike over 4.4 laps of a 5.97-mile course in the city’s Prater park, instead of having to pick refreshments up from a table as in normal competition marathons.
These aids are not allowed under the rules of the IAAF, athletics’ world governing body, which is why it will not recognise this feat as the official marathon world record. — Sports Reporter/BBC Sport.