For the first time in history, a human has successfully run 26.2 miles in under two hours.
That human is Eliud Kipchoge.
On Saturday, the 34-year-old Kenyan completed the feat in 1 hour, 59 minutes, 40.2 seconds at the Vienna INEOS 1:59 Challenge:
“I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours and I can tell people that no human is limited,” Kipchoge told the Associated Press.
“I was really calm, I was just trying to maintain the pace.”
Digging into the numbers behind Kipchoge’s mind-boggling feat, the “pace” he maintained is beyond comprehension.
He averaged a 4:33 mile on his way to the record, a pace few humans can sustain for 1,600 meters, let alone 42,195.
Or, as sports performance consultant Derek Hansen put it, breaking the 2-hour barrier required Kipchoge to run 100 meters in 17.08 seconds or less 422 times in a row.
A team of 41 pacemakers, which consisted of many of the best long-distance runners in the world, helped support Kipchoge throughout the race.
A group of five rotating pacers continually ran in front of him in a V-shaped formation to help reduce drag. Other concessions included a cyclist handing Kipchoge beverages throughout the race so that he wouldn’t have to slow down for fuel stations. The course, handpicked for such an attempt, was also entirely flat and 90% straight.
Due to such factors, Kipchoge will have to repeat the feat during a marathon certified by the International Association of Athletics Federation for it to count as a true World Record. But considering Kipchoge already holds the current IAAF marathon World Record with the 2:01:39 he blazed last year in Berlin, we can’t imagine that’s far off.
What did Kipchoge eat before he his monumental run?
According to the New York Times, a breakfast of oatmeal.
During his months-long training camp leading up to the attempt, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist received many of his calories from rice, potatoes, porridge and beans. He’s also been known to down plenty of fruits and veggies along with loads of tea with extra sugar. Such high-carbohydrate choices are essential for endurance athletes.
While the feat itself was remarkable, perhaps the coolest part of it all was the reaction from Kipchoge’s fellow Kenyans:
Congratulations to Kipchoge on his astonishing achievement.
Photo Credit: Alex Halada/Getty Images