Eliud Kipchoge’s world record 1:59 marathon run did not top the moon landings

PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:00 18 October 2019

Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to break two hours in a marathon in Vienna. Picture: PA

Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to break two hours in a marathon in Vienna. Picture: PA

PA Wire

As amazing as it was, Nick Richards says Eliud Kipchoge’s world marathon record needed to have a competitive edge for it to really be a history maker

I've been comparing myself to Eliud Kipchoge quite a bit this week.

For those unaware, he is the Kenyan runner who last Saturday in Vienna became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours. In the course of my comparison, I've found out that we've got actually got plenty in common.

We've raced together - we both started last year's London Marathon, although Eliud finished around 30,000 places ahead of me and was crossing the finishing line while I struggled to get past a man dressed as a cheese string in Rotherhithe.

We've both already got an October marathon under our belts - and I even went sub-two hours in mine - clocking an impressive one hour and 56 minutes. It wasn't quite a world record though as that was the exact time I passed the half way mark. And we can both run 100 metres in 17 seconds. The only slight difference is that Eliud managed to keep that 17 seconds per 100m pace going and going and going - a total of 420 times in a row.

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Comparison and Kipchoge go hand in hand, certainly in the days following his amazing achievement.

To the horror of anyone reading this over 65, his achievement was initially compared to Roger Bannister's sacred sub four-minute mile in 1954 and later it was even compared to the moon landings as one of those amazing leaps made by mankind.

It's probably an event that means more to different generations. Anyone witnessing those true moments of history that have been celebrated for decades certainly won't allow a pre-orchestrated athletic attempt to come anywhere near topping those. And why should they?

While it was an amazing feat of athletic performance, I feel the fact that it didn't happen organically in an Olympic event or one of the marathon majors does diminish it a tad.

It was set up as the INEOS 1:59 Challenge and used world-class pacers and a laser shone on the road to show Eliud the exact pace to keep around the Vienna streets.

I actually enjoyed watching the following day's Chicago Marathon far more where four elite runners were still battling it out for first place in the last kilometre and where Brigid Kosegi shattered the women's world record.

In the same way it would have been boring watching Usain Bolt set a 100 metres record without any other competition, I have to say this record attempt, for me, needed to be done as part of a race to be a real history maker.

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