In early October Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya made headlines by becoming the first athlete in the world to run a marathon in less than 2 hours. The marathon was the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, set up specifically for the purpose of breaking the 2-hour record.
Kipchoge is an Olympic champion and accomplished runner — he completed the race in Vienna, Austria in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds.
In order for Kipchoge to set the incredible mark he used 41 pacemakers during the race. Don't be alarmed — he has no heart problems. Pacemakers in marathons refers to people who run alongside the runner for a portion of the race to help keep time and protect from excessive breezes. However, the use of pacemakers is controversial and as a result his time will not be approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Achieving the ImpossibleKipchoge isn't bothered by the fact that the IAAF won't recognize his time. He believes that now that he's done it more people will start breaking the 2-hour marathon mark. This recalls the story of Roger Bannister, who famously ran one mile in under 4 minutes in 1952. Before that, no one thought it was possible. Once Bannister actually did it, many more athletes were suddenly able to do it as well.
After his momentous achievement, Bannister famously said, “Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.” (Bannister later went on to become a neurologist.)
As for Kipchoge, it was his second attempt at breaking the 2-hour mark. His first attempt was in 2017 in Monza, Italy in a similar race. He missed it by 26 seconds. The lesson? Never give up. Even if people say it's impossible, even if you've tried before and failed — there's still hope. As long as you have the will, you can find the way.
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