Eliud Kipchoge, the Kenyan world-record holder, will try again to become the first person to break the two hour barrier in the marathon.
The attempt will take place in late September or early October. Organizers said they were seeking a “flat, looped circuit” and said London was the leading candidate. Battersea Park was a possibility, the Guardian reported.
Kipchoge came 25 seconds short of breaking the two-hour mark on an auto racing track in Monza, Italy, in 2017.
His time was not considered a world record for several reasons. Other top athletes dropped into and out of the race and provided pacing for Kipchoge. A car drove in front of him to block the wind. And he was delivered drinks by bicycle. None of these are allowed in traditional marathon races at which world records can be set. Kipchoge’s new attempt is expected to also use these methods, although no final decision has been made.
His earlier attempt was dismissed by much of the running world as something of a stunt. But the run attracted a great deal of attention, with tens of thousands of people streaming it in the middle of the night. And as people saw Kipchoge come tantalizingly close to the two-hour barrier — and two other marathoners not come close at all — people began to understand how hard running under two hours would be regardless of how much assistance and support a runner might receive.
Eliud Kipchoge announced his marathon record attempt at the track in Oxford, England, where Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile.CreditAndrew Boyers/Reuters
Kipchoge set the official world record in the marathon last September, running 2:01:39 in Berlin under legal conditions, though the race does use pace-setters. In London last month, he ran the second-fastest marathon ever, dominating the race and finishing in 2:02:38.
“I truly believe I can go 26 seconds faster than I did in Monza two years ago,” Kipchoge said.
Kipchoge has been close to unbeatable at the marathon in recent years. He has won major marathons in Rotterdam and Chicago and has won four times in London and three times in Berlin. He is also the reigning Olympic marathon champion and has silver and bronze medals in track from earlier Games.
The record attempt presumably means that Kipchoge will not race in a major fall marathon , such as New York or Chicago, which is largely flat and considered the fastest major marathon in the United States.
The attempt will be sponsored by Ineos, a chemicals company, which has faced environmental protests over its involvement with fracking and other issues.
Its chairman, the billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, said: “Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest ever marathon runner and the only athlete in the world who has any chance of beating the two-hour time.”
“We make billions in profits so what’s wrong with investing a bit of that in sport, in good challenges, good people?” Ratcliffe told Reuters. Ineos also sponsors a top cycling team, formerly known as Team Sky, which includes Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France winner.