NO MATTER how well the planning goes, the success of the event on the day all comes down to the work of one man.
“There is absolutely no-one else who has a chance of breaking two hours in the marathon than Eliud,” said a spokesman for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge. “Look at any marathon he has raced. No-one comes close to him. There’s no-one better to attempt it.”
Jos Hermens looks after some of the world’s best athletes, including Eliud.
“A hero can be created here,” he said. “And the sport desperately needs heroes.”
Jos, who is CEO of management agency Global Sports Communication, believes the time is right for Eliud to attempt to run a sub two-hour marathon.
Athletes manager Valentijn Trouw, who has worked with him for many years, said Eliud also believed he could do it.
“You have to understand what drives an athlete,” he said. “Breaking two hours really is an epic challenge but Eliud has thought and dreamed about doing it for years and years.
“And I believe he can do it.”
Watching in awe on the day of the challenge will be Eliud’s lead coach, Patrick Sang, a Kenyan former international athlete who remembers meeting Eliud as a hungry, 16-year-old at the dirt track in Nandi County in the North Rift of Kenya 17 years ago.
“I gave him a two-week training programme and off he went,” he said. “He came back two weeks later and said ‘what’s next?’ That’s really where it all began.”