Eliud Kipchoge made history in October 2019. The 34-year old Kenyan became the first person to break the sub two-hour barrier for a marathon.
Assisted by 41 pacemakers, lasers and a host of other sports science-related metrics, Kipchoge smashed through one of sport’s final frontiers. Because of the controlled conditions and because it was not in open competition, the record won’t be officially ratified.
But that hardly matters. Kipchoge and his team achieved this feat for all the world to see.
Remarkably, he didn’t just run the distance in under two hours by a few milliseconds. He did so by a whole 20 seconds under two hours.
It was Kipchoge’s second attempt at the record, having fallen 25 seconds short previously. The feat comes on the back of him setting a new course record at the 2019 London Marathon and having broken the world record at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.
You don’t need to be a runner to know just how mind-blowing of a thing this is. Running 2:50 minutes per km is enough to make anyone’s eyes water. And yet, that’s just what Kipchoge did. His official average speed was clocked at 21.18 km/ph.
But when broken down into bite-sized chunks of distance, the gravity of just how remarkable this was becomes even more apparent.
If you have never run a marathon – or never run for that matter – just attempt to do 100m on a treadmill in 17 seconds. Then repeat that 422 times.
Get the picture?
Kipchoge’s distance times vs world records
The chart below shows Kipchoge’s average pace for 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m contextualised with the current world records for those distances. Times are displayed in seconds.
Right click to download the graphic as an image.
His average time per 100m was 17.02 seconds, 200m at 34.03, 400m at 01:08.06, 800m at 02:16.13 and 1500m at 04:15.3.
The world records in those distances are: 100m: 9.58, 200m: 19.19, 400m: 43.03, 800m: 1:40.91, 1,500m: 3:26,
Kipchoge’s race splits
Distance running observers will know it’s all about the split times. And Kipchoge’s were remarkable, too. The chart below shows his split times across the 5km intervals across the race. You can toggle distances on and off by clicking on the picture showing the distance.
Note: It’s best viewed on a larger screen. We’re aware of the display issues. We’re working on getting the graphic to be completely responsive.
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Kipchoge’s race splits
- 5km 14:10 (WR: 12:37.35)
- 10km 28:20 (WR: 26:17.53)
- 15km 42:34
- 20km 56:47 (Half marathon WR: 58:18)
- 25km 01:10:59
- 30km 01:25:11
- 35km 01:39:23
- 40km 01:59:40
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Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.