Nairobi, Jun 27: Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge is upbeat about the change of venue for his attempt to run the marathon in under two minutes, switching from London to Vienna.Organizers of the new task dubbed The INEOS 1:59 Challenge say the race start on October 12, with a reserve window of eight days scheduled until the October 20.
"I am very excited about Vienna being the setting of The INEOS 1:59 Challenge. It has all the aspects of a beautiful and successful course this October. I hope to see you all there," said Kipchoge on Thursday from Eldoret.After an extensive worldwide assessment process, The Prater - the famous Viennese park - has been chosen by The INEOS 1:59 Challenge as the venue that will give Kipchoge the optimum conditions to write himself into the history books.
"The marathon will be held on a multi-lap, 9.6 kilometer course centered on Hauptallee, the iconic long, straight and tree-lined avenue which runs through the heart of The Prater," the organizers said.Kipchoge is preparing for his record attempt at his training camp in Kaptagat, Kenya. He made his first attempt in Monza, Italy in 2017 where he missed the target by 26 seconds as he clocked two hours and 25 seconds. Now he has another chance in Vienna, Austria to attain his dream of becoming the first person to run the marathon in 1:59.
"I've been informed Vienna has a fast and flat course, nicely protected by trees. The course is as well situated in the heart of this beautiful city which will enable a great number of spectators to be part of this historical event," said Kipchoge.It will be the 13th marathon for Kipchoge, having won 12 since his debut in 2013. His only loss came in Berlin in 2013 when he finished second to compatriot Wilson Kipsang when he clocked a world record time then of two hours three minutes and 23 seconds. Kipchoge has since gone on to break that mark, clocking two hours and 39 seconds on the same course in the German capital.
"My job is simple, to prepare and reach the level of fitness needed to run a sub-two-hour marathon," said Kipchoge.Vienna was chosen because the venue provides a fast and flat track, has a straight road, the 4.3km stretch of Prater Hauptallee that allows consistent and optimum performance conditions. It also has the a wide, traffic-free and illuminated roads as well as space for supporters to line the route.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, chairman of INEOS, puts the challenge ahead into perspective."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. Nobody's been able to achieve this. It's not unlike trying to put a man on the moon. If Eliud runs 1:59 it will be the first time that any human has ever been able to break that barrier," he said.
"We have a responsibility to ensure he is given the best chance. After an extensive search of venues fitting Eliud's criteria, we are delighted to be working with Vienna, and hope to see history made in October," said Ratcliffe. (UNI-Xinhua)