Marathon milestones achieved, only one recognized as world record

By Jamie Belfer || Sports Editor

Photo Courtesy of outsideonline.com

In a single weekend, two major marathon milestones were achieved by two astounding athletes from Kenya.  On Saturday, October 12, Eliud Kipchoge finished his marathon with a time of 1:59:40. The following day in Chicago, Brigid Kosgei broke the women’s world record with a time of 2:14:04. 

Before Vienna, Kipchoge (age 34) was an already accomplished marathon runner as he medaled in the Olympics three times, and he has won eight major marathons.  Kipchoge made an attempt to beat the two-hour marathon mark in 2017 in Italy, coming close with a time of 2:00:25. While this time broke the men’s world record at the time, it was not counted as it was not run under normal conditions.  However, Kipchoge did achieve the world record in 2018, where he ran with a time of 2:01:39 in Berlin. This record broke marathoner Dennis Kimetto from Kenya who held a time of 2:02:57 (npr). 

Kipchoge trained for four months with his coach, Partrick Sang, to prepare for his second attempt to run a marathon in under two hours.  Kipchoge used many tools during the running of his race to help him accomplish this once unthinkable task. In front of Kipchoge, an electric car rode at a speed that would allow to keep him on pace.  Additionally, Kipchoge had 41 professional runners that would rotate running alongside him to help him keep his pace. Among those professional runners were Olympic gold medalists. Parts of the course were marked to signify the path that would lead him to the fastest time.  A person also rode behind him to provide him with gels and fluids when needed. Due to all this extra help that runners would not have in a traditional marathon, Kipchoge’s time did not become the new record. 

Kipchoge did not mind that his time was not a new record.  According to the New York Times, Kipchoge stated, “Vienna is about running and breaking history, like the first man on the moon.”  Nothing could get better than breaking history and having his family to embrace at the finish line, it being the first time they had seen him in person (NY Times).       

The following day, Brigid Kosgei competed in the Chicago Marathon, hoping to having a record-breaking day of her own.  In addition to breaking a record, Kosgei (age 25) looked to defend her title as she had won the Chicago Marathon the previous year.  Kosgei demolished her competitors, finishing with a time of 2:14:04, over six minutes faster than any of her competitors. This time also broke the Brooke Radcliffe’s record of 2:15:25, which she achieved in the 2003 London Marathon (npr)(NY Times).  At only 25 years of age, it may not be too long before Kosgei may break her own record.

It was an astounding weekend for runners around the world, that showed how athletes can conquer seemingly humanly impossible tasks and achieve greatness.

Sophomore Jamie Belfer is the Sports Editor. Her email is jbelfer@fandm.edu.

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