Long-distance running great Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, who ran a historic sub-2 hour marathon race in Vienna, can achieve the feat in a normal competitive race, said compatriot and lead pacemaker Erick Kiptanui on Friday. Kiptanui was the captain of seven pacemakers in that race on October 12 in the Austrian capital, where Kipchoge ran 26.22 miles in 1:59:40. Kipchoge was helped by 41 pacemakers along the route, seven at a time, including former Olympic and world record holders.
The use of rolling pacemakers, and the race not being an open event meant it will not count as an official world record. Kipchoge holds the official marathon world record of 2:01:39. “I feel Eliud can do it in a normal competitive race. If he now says he wants to run alone with just one pacemaker till 30km, I think he can run in sub-2 hour,” Kiptanui told PTI on the sidelines of a pre-race press conference of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, to be organised in the capital on Sunday.
“It is possible for others also to run sub-2 hours in future,” he added.
Asked about the use of the seven pacemakers during Kipchoge’s history-making race, Kiptanui said, “There was wind during a race and the formation (of pacemakers running by surrounding Eliud) ensured that the wind is not directly faced by Eliud but by the pacemakers.
“Our group (of pacemakers and Eliud) trained running in that formation in Kenya for a long time. We did a lot of training and running like that in Kenya,” said the 29-year-old Kiptanui, who ran 15km as pacemaker in Vienna.
He said Kipchoge chose Vienna for his history-making effort because of the good weather conditions and its flat course. “I was little nervous to be in that group of pacemakers as he (Kipchoge) was trying something which no man has ever done before,” Kiptanui said.
Kiptanui also said that he will also try to emulate Kipchoge in some point in time.
“I enjoyed the race (in Vienna) and I am also progressing to marathon race. When the king is away, his son becomes the king. So, after Kipchoge is retired, I would like to emulate his feat.”
Kiptanui is the fastest in the international elite field in the ADHM. He notched up two impressive half marathon victories in 2018, including a 58:42 personal best in Berlin. He won Barcelona Half Marathon this year.
Kiptanui ran in the London Marathon in April but did not finish the race.