Setting the scene

Inch Magazine

Setting the scene

4
min
1:59 Challenge

NO EVENT in athletics holds quite the same mystic or iconic status as the marathon.

The very first marathon commemorated the run of Pheidippides, who ran from a battlefield near Marathon in Greece to Athens in 490BC to announce the defeat of the Persians before promptly collapsing and dying.

Around 2,500 years later the idea of recreating a long-distance test was revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin – the founder of the Modern Olympics.

Keen to retain the spirit of Pheidippides, a 40km marathon was held at the first Modern Games in Athens in 1896 as Greek water-carrier Spyridon Louis struck gold in a time of 2:58:50 to launch the marathon phenomenon.

The inaugural marathon proved so popular that one year later the Boston Marathon – the oldest annual marathon – was created.

Yet it was perhaps the marathon race at the 1908 London Olympics, which most significantly defined the marathon we know today.

The length of the 1908 London Marathon – from Windsor Castle to the White City Stadium – was initially fixed at 26 miles.

But, a late request from The Queen to move the start back to the East Lawn of Windsor Castle, from where the race could be seen by the royal children in their nursery, added a further 385 yards (352 metres) and so the official marathon distance was born.

The 1908 Olympic marathon is also remembered as one of the most iconic in history.

Italian Dorando Pietri entered the stadium first only to collapse near the finish.

He was helped over the finish line by a British official, but disqualified for achieving assistance.

The gold was awarded to American runner-up Johnny Hayes.

However, such was the public’s outpouring of sympathy for Pietri that he was awarded a special medal from the Queen.


NO ONE should underestimate just what it will take for Eliud Kipchoge to run 26 miles and 385 yards in 1:59:59.

Anyone, who has ever run a marathon, knows that.

British journalist Ed Caesar said that included professional athletes.

“Geoffrey Mutai’s prayer at the start line was not to win the race, but to finish it,” he said.

The body of a marathoner is believed to be burning so much fuel that it becomes a furnace on the move. Nothing but your own body will sustain you and there’s no charging station.

But that doesn’t stop the hordes of ordinary people who are drawn to test themselves to the limit every year by running a marathon alongside the world’s elite.

And every year the world’s best have been getting faster.

In 1988 Ethiopian Belayneh Densamo set a world record by running the Rotterdam marathon in 2:06:50.

Today Eliud holds the record as the fastest marathon runner, having completed the Berlin marathon in 2:01:39.

In his book, Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon, Ed describes the sub-two hour marathon as ‘running’s Everest’.

“It is a feat once seen as impossible for the human body, but now we can glimpse the mountain top,” he wrote.

He believes it will require an exceptional feat of speed, mental strength and endurance.

“The pioneer will have to endure more, live braver, plan better, and be luckier than his forbearers,” he said. “So who is he?”

The team behind the INEOS 1:59 Challenge believe ‘he’ is Eliud Kipchoge. A 34-year-old Kenyan farmer who started running on a dirt track at 16.

And it’s with good reason. For Eliud believes he can do it too.

Tim Noakes, a retired South African professor who has run more than 70 marathons and ultra-marathons, said studies had shown that the brain controlled the muscles and the mind would be the greatest hurdle to breaking the two-hour barrier.

“You have to convince the brain it is possible‚” he said.

Eliud – and the team around him – have already cleared that hurdle.

“I have visualised it,” said Eliud. “I have put it in my heart and my mind that I will break the two-hour barrier.”

Today he will put Professor Noakes’ theory to the test of a lifetime.

More from INCH Magazine
HISTORY.jpg

History Is Made

Kenyan legend runs 1:59:40:2 in INEOS 1:59 Challenge 34-year-old proves No Human is Limited Eliud Kipchoge proved No Human Is Limited when he became the first human in history to run a sub-two-hour marathon in the city of Vienna, Austria this morning. Kipchoge ran the 42.195KM distance in a remarkable time of 1:59:40:2. The 34-year-old Kenyan’s landmark achievement began at 8:15AM CEST on the Reichsbrucke Bridge in Vienna in perfect weather conditions of around 9 degrees celcius and wind speeds between 0.5 - 1.5 m/s. The circuit featured four [4.4] laps of the Hauptallee, the historic tree-lined avenue in The Prater, picked as the location of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge because of its long, flat straight sections and its protection from the wind. Vienna came out to witness history being made with thousands of spectators lining the course to support Kipchoge and his team of 41 pacemakers, featuring some of the best middle and long-distance runners on the planet. Kipchoge ran a consistent pace set by the electric timing car and the pacemakers of 2:50min/KM throughout the race with every single KM split being between 2:48min/KM - 2:52min/KM. With the noise levels rising, Kipchoge crossed the line in a history-making time of 1:59:40:2 to become the first human to break the two-hour barrier for the marathon. Kipchoge’s incredible achievement emphatically proved his own mantra that No Human is Limited and places him alongside other sporting greats such as Sir Roger Bannister – who ran the first sub-four minute mile in 1954 – and Usain Bolt who’s 100M world record of 9.58 seconds has stood since 2009. On becoming the first ever person to run a marathon in under two hours, Eliud Kipchoge said:  “It is a great feeling to make history in sport after Sir Roger Bannister [set the first sub-four-minute mile] in 1954. I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours and I can tell people that no human is limited. I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today. “The pacemakers did a great job, they are among the best runners of all time. I thank them and appreciate them for accepting to do the job. "I wanted to run under two hours and show human beings can do a good job and lead a good life. It shows the positivity of sport. I want to make the sport an interesting sport whereby all the human beings can run and together we can make this world a beautiful world.” Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS said:  "That was sensational. It is quite difficult to believe it's actually happened because it happened so quickly. That last kilometre where he actually accelerated and came through on his own was just superhuman. I can't believe he did it. "I can't believe he ran the first half marathon in less than an hour and then he had to do that again. "Everything had to go right to do this and it's been immaculately well organised. It was especially brilliant to see the pacemakers because running is normally such a solitary sport and here they were all running for Eliud. They're the best athletes in the world and so full of enthusiasm, it's almost like a new sport for them."

4 min read
eliud-victory-min.jpg

Eliud Kipchoge achieves his moon-landing moment

With metronomic precision Eliud Kipchoge raced into history today on the Hauptallee in Vienna by becoming the first man to achieve the barrier-breaking sub-two-hour marathon as part of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge. The greatest marathon runner of all time Eliud achieved a jaw-dropping time of 1:59:40.2 to secure his moon-landing moment. He was supported by a world-class team including an electric pace car complete with futuristic lasers and a fabulous team of world-class pacemakers, featuring some of the best athletes in the world. Dissecting the last great barrier in athletics with remarkable consistency – he completed 24km of the 42.2km distance in precisely the pre-designated pace of 2:50 – his slowest kilometre was 2:52 and his fastest 2:48. It was a performance which perfectly encapsulated Eliud the man - calm, consistent, patient and totally unflappable.  “This was the best moment of my life,” Eliud explained after the race.“From the first kilometre today I was really comfortable. In my heart and my mind I hoped to run under two hours and make history. I hoped to leave a positive message to the whole world that no human is limited.” He admitted to facing the pressure. Calls from the Kenyan President plus tens of thousands of encouraging messages around the world inevitably intensified expectation levels. Yet following 18 years of hard, consistent training under the tutelage of his coach and mentor, Patrick Sang, the wise management of Valentijn Trouw and the additional support of INEOS he was able to achieve a moment in human history to match that of Sir Roger Bannister’s first sub-four-minute mile in 1954 and Neil Armstrong first moon-landing in 1969. “I was really calm, I just wanted to maintain the pace,” added Eliud whose wife, Grace and three children; Lynne, Griffin and Gordon were watching him compete for the first time.“I followed the instructions of the pacemakers. At 35km and 40km my mind was focused on running. I did not think it was 50-50.” Passing the halfway mark ten seconds under the required pace, ensured that there was no bleeding of time in the second half of the race like Eliud had experienced in Monza when taking part in the Breaking2 project when he fell a tantalising 26 seconds shy of his goal. Since that first sub-two-hour marathon attempt in May 2017 the 34-year-old has further cemented his status as the greatest marathoner in history.Last year he obliterated the world marathon record with a stunning 2:01:39 clocking in Berlin and earlier this year he secured a record-breaking fourth London Marathon title.Only a sub-two-hour marathon was missing from his incomparable CV. His consistency throughout a lengthy career has been mind-boggling. On the track he won two Olympic 5000m crowns and a world title.He has never remotely experienced a blip in his marathon career – today was thankfully no off-day as acknowledged by a delighted Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the INEOS Founder and Chairman. ELIUD KIPCHOGE AND SIR JIM RATCLIFFE “I’m an amateur runner and sometimes I run well and sometimes not, and I don’t really know why,” Ratcliffe said.“But this is sport and there and no guarantees. I’m just glad he had a really good day. “That last half a kilometre when the pace car was gone it was just Eliud, it didn’t look like his feet were touching the ground – he looked so calm and tranquil. My face would have been torture.” Modest and showing typical humility, Eliud praised the key role the 41 pacemakers played in his success. He said they too had “bought into his dream” and the pacemakers too were humbled to have played their part in history. Two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong said: “It means the world to me. Eliud said we needed to be able to come to the moon and back and we did today. This was a momentous day. The whole world will be watching with many people putting their shoes on thinking about breaking two hours.  “Today is Eliud’s day but everyone can come out to celebrate this moment. We are all part of history. We all did this together as a running community.”  Bernard Lagat, the former world 1500m and 5000m champion and two-time Olympic1500m medallist, who grew up in the neighbouring village to Eliud, was similarly humbled. “Eliud told the world that if you set your mind to something nothing is impossible. This is a special day today. Looking at the 1:59:40 time I got so emotional. He worked so hard for it and inspired us. It is something special. Eliud proved no human was limited and he did it.” Team INEOS Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford was also hugely praiseworthy of Eliud’s accomplishments in the Prater in Vienna. "Eliud is a once in a generation athlete and if anybody deserves to break the two-hour barrier it is him,” he adds. “It was an incredible performance and a privilege to be here. "This project kicked off earlier this year, we took a good look at it and broke it down. A lot of high performance principles can apply to all sports and we helped with a little background support to aid Eliud’s brilliant team around him of Valentijn [Trouw, Eliud’s manager] and Patrick [Sang, Eliud’s coach]. “The great thing about INEOS' role is we brought people together including from the INEOS sailing and cycling teams. INEOS put it all together for this single project and from an INEOS sport perspective it has been fantastic." Yet the final word should go to Eliud, who celebrated wildly in the latter stages and after he crossed the line. “Sport can help unify people, I wanted to sell that message to the whole world. Truly no human is limited.”  By Steve Landells

0 min read
e-mag-anything-poss-min.png

Anything is possible

ONE man must believe he can make history in Vienna today. And that man is Eliud Kipchoge. “Some people believe it is impossible to run a marathon in under two hours,” he said. “I respect their views, but they should respect mine. “This is about history and making a mark in sport. It’s like the first man to go to the Moon. I will be the first man to run under two hours. “My team and I believe it is possible. We will prove the doubters wrong.” He came within a whisker – just 26 seconds – of making history at his first attempt in Monza, Italy, in 2017. But coming so tantalisingly close has given him the confidence to try again. “In 2017 I was like a boxer who is going in the ring and doesn’t know what will happen,” he said. “But this time I am prepared. I know what will happen.” Few athletes boast the same mental resolve and total self-belief in their ability as Eliud. But then again no one in history has gone closer to breaking the magical two-hour barrier. He has a stunning track record. At the Berlin Marathon in September last year he set a new world record of 2:01:39. It was an incredible run that took 78 seconds off the previous best – and the biggest single improvement for more than 50 years. But running a 1:59 marathon remains the big one.

2 min read
e-mag-setting-scene-min.png

Setting the scene

NO EVENT in athletics holds quite the same mystic or iconic status as the marathon. The very first marathon commemorated the run of Pheidippides, who ran from a battlefield near Marathon in Greece to Athens in 490BC to announce the defeat of the Persians before promptly collapsing and dying. Around 2,500 years later the idea of recreating a long-distance test was revived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin – the founder of the Modern Olympics. Keen to retain the spirit of Pheidippides, a 40km marathon was held at the first Modern Games in Athens in 1896 as Greek water-carrier Spyridon Louis struck gold in a time of 2:58:50 to launch the marathon phenomenon. The inaugural marathon proved so popular that one year later the Boston Marathon – the oldest annual marathon – was created. Yet it was perhaps the marathon race at the 1908 London Olympics, which most significantly defined the marathon we know today. The length of the 1908 London Marathon – from Windsor Castle to the White City Stadium – was initially fixed at 26 miles. But, a late request from The Queen to move the start back to the East Lawn of Windsor Castle, from where the race could be seen by the royal children in their nursery, added a further 385 yards (352 metres) and so the official marathon distance was born. The 1908 Olympic marathon is also remembered as one of the most iconic in history. Italian Dorando Pietri entered the stadium first only to collapse near the finish. He was helped over the finish line by a British official, but disqualified for achieving assistance. The gold was awarded to American runner-up Johnny Hayes. However, such was the public’s outpouring of sympathy for Pietri that he was awarded a special medal from the Queen. NO ONE should underestimate just what it will take for Eliud Kipchoge to run 26 miles and 385 yards in 1:59:59. Anyone, who has ever run a marathon, knows that. British journalist Ed Caesar said that included professional athletes. “Geoffrey Mutai’s prayer at the start line was not to win the race, but to finish it,” he said. The body of a marathoner is believed to be burning so much fuel that it becomes a furnace on the move. Nothing but your own body will sustain you and there’s no charging station. But that doesn’t stop the hordes of ordinary people who are drawn to test themselves to the limit every year by running a marathon alongside the world’s elite. And every year the world’s best have been getting faster. In 1988 Ethiopian Belayneh Densamo set a world record by running the Rotterdam marathon in 2:06:50. Today Eliud holds the record as the fastest marathon runner, having completed the Berlin marathon in 2:01:39. In his book, Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon, Ed describes the sub-two hour marathon as ‘running’s Everest’. “It is a feat once seen as impossible for the human body, but now we can glimpse the mountain top,” he wrote. He believes it will require an exceptional feat of speed, mental strength and endurance. “The pioneer will have to endure more, live braver, plan better, and be luckier than his forbearers,” he said. “So who is he?” The team behind the INEOS 1:59 Challenge believe ‘he’ is Eliud Kipchoge. A 34-year-old Kenyan farmer who started running on a dirt track at 16. And it’s with good reason. For Eliud believes he can do it too. Tim Noakes, a retired South African professor who has run more than 70 marathons and ultra-marathons, said studies had shown that the brain controlled the muscles and the mind would be the greatest hurdle to breaking the two-hour barrier. “You have to convince the brain it is possible‚” he said. Eliud – and the team around him – have already cleared that hurdle. “I have visualised it,” said Eliud. “I have put it in my heart and my mind that I will break the two-hour barrier.” Today he will put Professor Noakes’ theory to the test of a lifetime.

4 min read
e-mag-eliud-can-min.png

Eliud can do it

NO MATTER how well the planning goes, the success of the event on the day all comes down to the work of one man. Eliud Kipchoge. “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.”

2 min read
e-mag-why-ineos-min.png

Why INEOS?

INEOS believes that individuals can excel when challenged, and that great teams can achieve extraordinary results. It also believes that keeping fit is essential to a healthy and happy life. Over the years INEOS has donated hundreds of thousands to help develop a healthy interest in sport, particularly among the young. And it’s in any sport. Ice hockey. Football, Rugby. Running. And in virtually every country where it does business. More recently, though, INEOS’ focus has turned to elite athletes. Those, who despite excelling at what they do, still have the hunger, desire and belief that anything is possible. The INEOS 1:59 Challenge is a perfect fit for the INEOS philosophy. “No one should ever tell INEOS that something cannot be done,” said John Mayock, a former Olympic athlete who is now Head of Sport at INEOS. INEOS Chairman and Founder Jim Ratcliffe hopes this challenge will inspire future generations to get running and to get fit for life. “Eliud has got the great part to play,” said Jim. “We can just facilitate it. But however good we are at getting the details right, it’s still a superhuman feat.” He’s come close before. Very close. In May 2017 he ran it in 2:00:25 in a specially created Nike event at Monza, Italy. He knows that just 26 seconds stand between him and history. Many believe it is impossible. But INEOS doesn’t. And neither does Eliud.

3 min read
e-mag-patrick-min.png

Patrick Sang

COACH Patrick Sang does not have a clear picture of the Eliud Kipchoge he first met at the dirt track in Nandi County. All he remembers is a 16-year-old who was hungry to learn. “I didn’t know his name,” he said. “But he kept coming up to me and asking for training programmes.” Finally Patrick, who had successfully competed in the Olympics and World Championships, asked him: ‘Who are you?’ The young teenager looked at him and replied: ‘I’m Eliud.’ That was 18 years ago. Today, Eliud is the fastest marathon runner in the world. “I often ask myself what would have happened if I had said no when he asked for a training programme,” said Patrick who has coached him since 2001. “What if I had ignored that young man who came to me asking for support? Would history have been different? Would we have seen this phenomenal marathon runner?” No one will ever know the answer to that. But what Patrick does know is that Eliud is now the one teaching him. “In some ways the roles have actually reversed,” he said. “I was a role model to Eliud for many years and played the role of teacher because, for many years, it was possible to teach him something new. But he is now teaching me things and I think we can all learn from him, the way he lives his life and the values he holds.” In 2001, though, Eliud was just starting out on his incredible journey into the world of athletics – and he needed guidance. That guidance came from Patrick. In abundance. “I think if you are endowed with a certain knowledge, in whatever field that is, then you should give it back,” said Patrick. “Running has given me so much. It has given me a quality education and the opportunity to travel the world. So it is very important for me to give back what I have learned to young athletes.” Patrick said Eliud – despite all the accolades, the money and media attention – had not changed. “He fundamentally believes you should remain humble and that is certainly not easy,” he said. “I have seen athletes who have had some success in their careers and who have been influenced in a negative way by the money they have earned. But not Eliud.”

3 min read
e-mag-valentijn-min.png

Valentijn Trouw

Valentijn Trouw believes that the heart drives the soul. So as Eliud Kipchoge’s manager, he must understand what makes him tick. What motivates him. What makes Eliud push his body to the limits. And this year, there was just one thing on Eliud’s mind. He wanted to become the first man in history to run a marathon in under two hours. “Breaking two hours really is an epic challenge but Eliud has thought and dreamed about doing it for years,” said Valentijn. In 2017 Eliud came closer than ever at the Nike Breaking2 event in 2017. “That only increased his desire to do it,” said Valentijn. The record attempt in Vienna fits into his training schedule for the Olympics in Tokyo next year but only just. “There was a very limited window to bring a sub-2 marathon challenge to life for Eliud, but INEOS have made this happen,” he said. The performance team and Valentijn’s main job – in the run-up to today’s challenge – was keeping Eliud fit and healthy. “Prevention is always better than cure so we had to act on any small problems before they became big problems,” he said. “That’s why we all needed to be really sharp.” Valentijn, who has helped build the careers of scores of Olympic and World Champions, said everyone would be nervous on the day of the race because it means so much to all who have been involved. “Eliud must think about all the preparation he has done in the lead-up to the challenge and by realising he has given his all to prepare to the best of his ability, he will be able to control his nerves,” he said.

3 min read
e-mag-the-team-min.png

The team behind the team

ELIUD Kipchoge knows that the INEOS 1:59 Challenge is a golden opportunity for him to make history and show the world that no human is limited. He just has to run 26.2 miles on the day in less than two hours. While he has been training in Kenya, a support team has been working around-the-clock to make the perfect race happen. And nothing can be left to chance. They have to control as many of the contributory factors as possible, encouraging them to work in Eliud’s favour without reducing the credibility of the run. Their job is to ensure that it could one day be — as Performance Manager Peter Vint put it — ‘replicated in the wild’. And no one is more grateful for all the supporting cast than Eliud. “It is a huge morale boost for me to have these guys and so many others by my side,” he said. INEOS has assembled a team of experts from the world of performance and athletics, including from across the wider INEOS sports group. “My role is to make sure the coach, the nutritionist, the physiotherapist, and the sports doctor are all thinking in the same direction,” said Valentijn Trouw, athletes manager of Global Sports Communication. As the team in Vienna perfected the conditions for the big day, Eliud was at his training camp in Kaptagat, where all the focus was to get his body and mind in shape. With a month to go, the 150 staff and 24 pacemakers conducted a run of successful tests in The Prater, Vienna. “To bring together so many world-class athletes for a weekend of testing was very special,” said Valentijn. “All the pacemakers who came to Vienna, and those who could not make it, are very excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to support Eliud in trying to make history.” He said for the pacemakers to even run 5km at Eliud’s pace was not easy. “They have all had to work very hard,” he said. Fran Millar, CEO Team INEOS, said the most important aspect of the challenge was the time. “Our aim is to ensure nothing is left to chance in the bid to give Eliud the best possible opportunity to make history,” she said. “Eliud believes he can do it. And he needs – and has – a team around him who believe he can do it.”

4 min read
e-mag-road-to-min.png

The Road To Vienna

MAY 6, 2017BREAKING2In an event organised by NIKE, Eliud Kipchoge runs a marathon in 2:00:25. ‘The world is now only 26 seconds away from achieving the first-ever, sub-two-hour marathon,’ he says. SEPTEMBER 16, 2018BERLIN MARATHONEliud Kipchoge sets a new official world record by winning the Berlin Marathon in 2:01:39. APRIL 28, 2019VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHONWatched on by INEOS Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Eliud Kipchoge runs the second fastest official marathon of all time and wins the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2:02:37. MAY 6, 2019INEOS 1:59 CHALLENGEEliud Kipchoge announces the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, a new attempt to shatter athletics’ last great barrier and run a sub-two-hour marathon. The announcement was made at Iffley Road in Oxford – the very course where Roger Bannister ran a sub four-minute-mile 65 years ago. Eliud is later nominated as a Daily Mile ambassador. JUNE 27, 2019COURSE AND DATE ANNOUNCEDAfter an extensive worldwide search, The Prater in Vienna is chosen to host the INEOS 1:59 Challenge on Saturday October 12. Organisers say they have a reserve of eight days until October 20, in case of bad weather. AUGUST 16, 2019FIRST PACEMAKERS ANNOUNCEDThe first pacemakers for Eliud Kipchoge’s attempt to make history are announced. They include Norway’s Henrik, Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen, his former track rival Bernard Lagat (USA) and his close friend Augustine Choge. AUGUST 28, 2019MORE PACEMAKERS ANNOUNCEDThe USA’s world and Olympic 5000m medallist Paul Chelimo plus Switzerland’s Julien Wanders are among the star names added to Eliud Kipchoge’s pacemaking team. AUGUST 31 – SEPTEMBER 1, 2019INEOS 1:59 CHALLENGE TESTING WEEKENDA series of successful tests are run on the course in Vienna to ensure nothing is left to chance when Eliud Kipchoge attempts to make history next month. TEAM INEOS CEO Fran Millar describes it as a huge undertaking to help one man make history. ‘Doing something that has never been done before is not easy and a significant amount of work goes into that,’ she says. SEPTEMBER 13, 2019#NOHUMANISLIMITED CAMPAIGN LAUNCHEDSome of the world’s most inspirational sporting stars tell their own personal stories of why no human is limited ahead of Eliud Kipchoge’s attempt to run a marathon in under two hours. Their stories – and Eliud’s belief that no human is limited – inspires the launch of an INEOS-backed campaign. SEPTEMBER 18, 2019MORE PACEMAKERS ANNOUNCEDThirteen more pacemakers are confirmed to help Eliud Kipchoge become the first person to run a sub-two-hour marathon. They include Marius Kipserem who set a course record time of 2:04:11 to win this year’s Rotterdam Marathon. OCTOBER 12 – OCTOBER 20, 2019INEOS 1:59 CHALLENGEVienna, Austria

3 min read
e-mag-why-vienna-min.png

Why Vienna?

VIENNA was chosen to host INEOS’ 1:59 Challenge after an extensive search that started with a map of the world and ended with a pinpoint in the Austrian capital. DISTANCE FROM KENYA: 8571KM TIME DIFFERENCE: -1HR FROM KENYA ALTITUDE: 165M ABOVE SEA LEVEL Scores of potential locations were considered but the team eventually settled on The Prater in Vienna. Their decision was based on science, experience and the likelihood that the weather would be kind. The team wanted somewhere that was within a three-hour time difference of Eliud’s training camp in Kaptagat, Kenya, to eliminate the effects of jet-lag. They wanted somewhere where there was plenty of pure oxygen so he could push his body harder. He might live and train at almost 8,000ft above sea level, where the air is thinner, but it doesn’t lead to peak performances. The team also drew invaluable lessons from Eliud’s first attempt to run a sub two-hour marathon in Monza, Italy, where humidity had caused a problem, making it difficult for sweat to evaporate. So somewhere dry – and sheltered from the wind – were essential as the team searched for the perfect place. Finally they needed a long, flat, straight course with as few corners as possible – and a place where crowds could watch the event. “Finding a course to meet all those criteria was not easy,” said a spokesman for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge. “But we drew up a shortlist and visited all the sites. In the end, though, there was one, unanimous choice: The Prater.” Vienna is just one hour behind Kenya, which means Eliud’s sleeping, eating and training regime should not be greatly affected by the location. Climatically too it is ideal. Vienna is 165 metres above sea level, and historic weather patterns of the city have shown there is a good chance that it will be cool in the mornings when Eliud likes to run. “We have a responsibility to ensure he is given the best chance,” said Sir Jim Ratcliffe, INEOS Chairman and Founder. Jim, a keen sportsman who has run more than 30 marathons himself, is full of admiration for Eliud. “He is the only athlete in the world who has any chance of beating the two-hour time,” he said. “No-one has been able to achieve this. It’s not unlike trying to put a man on the Moon.” VIENNA FACT Legendary athletics coach Franz Stampfl, who coached Roger Bannister to the world’s first sub-four-minute mile, was born in Vienna in 1913. Stampfl pioneered the science of interval training for distance runners.

4 min read
e-mag-the-course-min.png

The Course: Prater, Vienna

ELIUD Kipchoge thrives on the big occasion – the bigger the event and the bigger the crowds, the better he performs. The Prater, where he will attempt to make history, lends itself to a large crowd. Spectators will be able to line the entire route, which was something very high up on Eliud’s wishlist. Up to 8,000 are expected to cheer him on as he attempts to run a marathon in under two hours. But with 1.9 million people living in Vienna, Eliud might well be overrun with supporters. That will cheer him no end because his first attempt in 2017 – set up by Nike – was relatively sparsely attended. By contrast, the INEOS 1:59 Challenge will be run on a multi-lap, 9.6km course along Hauptallee, a long, straight and tree-lined avenue that runs through the heart of The Prater. And although, Vienna may be more famous as a city of music due to its connections with Mozart and Beethoven, it is also a city of running. There was a Running Festival in The Prater in the early 19th century and now the park is the place to exercise in Vienna. The last distance running world record was in 1978 when a Kenyan named Henry Rono set a 10,000-metre record of 27 minutes 22.5 seconds. That record was broken on the Vienna LAZ track in The Prater by a Kenyan born 15km from Eliud’s birth place – and was paced by a Dutchman named Jos Hermens, who went on to form a sports management agency. Today, that agency, Global Sports Communication, has a rather famous client. His name is Eliud Kipchoge. THE COURSE 4.3KM STRAIGHT 9.6KM CIRCUIT 90% STRAIGHT COURSE 0.06% NET GRADIENT CHANGE REPEATED 4.4 TIMES VIENNA FACT The Prater athletics track, the Vienna Athletics Centre, was also the location for a world distance running record by another Kenyan athlete, Henry Rono, in 1978. He ran 27:22:05 to break the world 10,000m record where he was paced by Jos Hermens, who now looks after Eliud.

4 min read
e-mag-training-min.png

Training

ELIUD Kipchoge’s bid to rewrite history started in May in Kenya – more than 8,500km away from where he will attempt to run a marathon in under two hours. In the beginning, the 34-year-old Kenyan was either jogging up to 20km a day on a dirt track or working out in the gym. “That stage is crucial because it provides the foundation for my preparation and shows me how fit I am,” he wrote in his blog. “In my mind the gym work helps to chase away the injuries and train the muscles. I know that with the right preparation and planning and by completing every long run, fartlek session and every track workout, that I will be ready.” In early July, he transferred to his training camp in Kaptagat in Kenya, leaving wife Grace and their three children, Lynne, Griffin and Jordon, behind at the family farm in Eldoret. “It is always hard to have to say goodbye to them,” he said. “But they understand these are the sacrifices I need to make to fulfil my running potential.” The camp allowed him to focus solely on his training – and run with his teammates. “Unless you are a genius, it is impossible to train on your own and achieve the same level of results,” he said. Nothing, though, could prepare him for the first few days in camp. “My legs were sore and the muscles ached because my body had to adjust to the demands of going for a long run and the speed sessions again,” he said. Initially, the training involved a mixture of gym work and easier runs. Later on, they went on to a mix of easy runs, two fartlek sessions and a long run. But as the weeks progressed, faster track workouts were introduced. “It is always important to get that stage right, so when we face the next intensive stage of training we are able to cope with the extra training load much more comfortably,” he said. “If we don’t, there are be big problems during the track sessions and on the long runs you really suffer.” Recovery from the hard training sessions was also important. To help keep him in tip-top condition, regular core stability exercises and massage sessions with his physiotherapist Peter Nduhiu were scheduled. And twice a week, usually after a long run and the fartlek session, he had a 10-minute ice bath in the camp. “While it is not particularly pleasant, it is great way for the body to recover from a hard work out and to reduce inflammation,” he said. By mid-August, there was a real buzz in the camp – and outside it. “It felt like every household in Kenya was talking about the challenge,” said Eliud. But as the excitement mounted, so did the pressure. “There was a lot of pressure and it was not easy to handle,” he said. To cope, Eliud knew exactly what he needed to do. “It was important to keep things simple and normal,” he said. “To take things day by day because my mental preparation was just as important as my physical preparation.” Weekend trips to Eldoret meant he could relax with his family, spend time on the farm and read. By August 30, many of the pacemakers, who would be running with him on the day, had been announced – and Eliud had begun working with his nutritionist Armand Bettonviel on what he needed to eat, and when, to run at his best. “It was a huge morale boost for me to have these guys and many others by my side,” he said. With a month to go, Eliud was feeling confident that 2019 would be the year that a marathon would be run in under two hours – and he would be the man to do it.

4 min read
e-mag-training-camp-min.png

The Training Camp

KENYA has been harvesting world-class runners for almost a quarter of a century at a training camp on the edge of a small town in the Kenyan Highlands. The camp, where Eliud Kipchoge still trains up to 200km a week, is flanked by farms where cows and sheep freely roam. It is basic but rich in passion and enthusiasm thanks to the 30 or so athletes who regularly train there. And little has changed over the years. “In 2002 we had no running water and used to get our water from a nearby well,” said Eliud. “But now we have running water and solar panels for heating.” Athletes spend the weekends at home with their families before returning to the Global Sports Communication training camp in Kaptagat on a Monday evening. “The camp is like a second home to the athletes,” said Eliud’s coach Patrick Sang. For Eliud, who started training there 17 years ago, it’s the simplicity of life in camp he loves. “It is free of distractions,” he said. One main building houses the male endurance runners, who sleep two to a room. A second building includes the women’s dormitories plus the TV room and physio room. There’s also a small kitchen and a dining area. Athletes often relax on the lawn in front of the main building – a space which also acts as a temporary training area for twice weekly core stability exercises. All the athletes are expected to do basic training at home since the main purpose of camp life is to rack up the training miles. “When the athletes are in the camp they also get all those technical skills and medical support which they don’t have at home,” said Patrick. Over the years Eliud has become a source of inspiration to his fellow athletes. “Everyone wants to run like him,” said Geoffrey Kamworor, the three-time World Half Marathon champion, world record holder on the half marathon and winner of the 2017 New York City Marathon. “We always try to follow him, to do what he is doing and be with him towards the last parts of the training run.” The community of Kaptagat has also grown economically because of Eliud’s presence. “Kaptagat now attracts so many athletes who come here to train and that has a knock-on effect on the economy,” said Patrick. “That’s why we say Eliud is more than an athlete. He is an inspiration in all aspects of life.”

3 min read
e-mag-pacemakers-min.png

The Power Of Pacemakers

THE world has changed beyond recognition since Sir Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes on May 6 1954 – and athletics has changed with it. There were no digital clocks for Bannister, no nutritional experts or sport scientists, and no scientifically engineered shoes and clothing. There weren’t even any full-time athletes. Bannister had to travel to Iffley Road, Oxford, for his date with destiny only after he had completed his shift at a London hospital. But for all the differences between 1954 and 2019, the record attempts are, at their very core, the same: man against clock. For Bannister 65 years ago, however, it was not just one man against the clock, but three. Famously he had two celebrated pacemakers – Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher – who were with him for nearly three-and-a-half of the four laps that make up a mile on the track. And for Kipchoge in 2019 the same will be true. He too will have a cast list of stellar pacemakers. However, there will be more than two of them to help. In all, 24 athletes – all stars in their own right – will be involved. “The pacemakers will play a vital role on the day in terms of not only setting an even, constant pace but also protecting me from the wind,” said Eliud. Bernard Lagat, captain of the pacemakers, said prior to the race: “We are here to make sure everything goes smoothly. We want to make sure that when Eliud steps on the starting line that he is confident because his pacemakers are confident and ready to help.” Bannister may have crossed the line first in 1954 but he was quick to acknowledge the help of his friends. For him, the record belonged to the team as much as it did to him individually. Just like Bannister, Eliud recognises the importance of the team. “100 percent of me is nothing compared to one percent of the team,” he said. The team, who will be there to support Eliud in Vienna, are athletes he trains with every day at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat, Kenya, former rivals and runners from all corners of the globe. It will be a team of running superstars, all united in a plan to keep him on pace to break the barrier, just like Brasher and Chataway did 65 years ago.

4 min read
e-mag-who-are-min.png

Who Are The Pacemakers?

WORLD-CLASS athletes from all corners of the globe will be part of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge. Lured by the aura that surrounds the world’s greatest marathon runner, this star-studded cast of pacemakers want to see him make history. “The calibre of athletes, who are here just to pace is ridiculous,” said Brett Robinson, “so to be part of that is going to be something special.” Among the athletes, who hail from Ethiopia, Uganda, America, Kenya, Norway, Australia and Switzerland, are marathon winners, world champions and US and European cross country stars. They have broken records themselves at the world championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Australian Brett Robinson has won the Melbourne Half Marathon on three occasions and reached the final of the 5000m at the 2016 Olympics. He made his marathon debut in London this year, finishing in 2:10:55. He will be joined by about 40 others, including five-times Olympian Bernard Lagat, the three famous Norwegian Ingebrigtsen brothers, Kenyan Augustine Choge, and Jack Rayner who won the 2018 Commonwealth Half Marathon title in Cardiff last year. But in Vienna, their focus will be on Eliud. They will be there to help set the pace (working in tandem with the timing car and laser). They will be there to shield him – as much as possible – from the wind. But perhaps their most important role is an intangible one: to be there for him on the day, running alongside him, offering him psychological and moral support as he attempts the seemingly impossible.

3 min read
e-mag-power-min.png

Power Of The Mind

SELF-BELIEF is what drives Eliud Kipchoge. The greatest marathon runner of all time says that’s where his inner strength comes from. His answer lies in the power of the mind. “If you have that belief that you want to be successful, then you can talk to your mind and your mind will control you to be successful,” he said. “My mind is always free. My mind is flexible. I want to show the world that you can go beyond your thoughts, you can break more than you think you can break.” Success in the world of marathon running is a lucrative business. But money is not the motivation. For nearly 300 days a year he lives and trains away from his wife and three children at a simple training camp in Kaptagat, a tiny village in the Kenyan highlands. He is known as the “boss man” by his training partners but that doesn’t stop him cleaning the toilets or doing his share of the daily chores. “I enjoy the simplistic training and life in marathon,” he says. “You run, eat, sleep, walk around - that’s how life is. You don’t get complicated. The moment you get complicated it distracts your mind.” Eliud, who was 16 when he began his journey to becoming the greatest marathon runner of all time, hopes to concentrate on inspiring others after he retires. “My dream is to make this world a running world,” he said. “A running world is a healthy world. A running world is a wealthy world. A running world is a peaceful world. A running world is a joyful world.”

2 min read
e-mag-role-of-car-min.png

The Role Of The Car

An electric car will be used to control the pace of the race. Peter Vint, Performance Team Manager for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, said it was the best – and only – way to ensure Eliud ran at the same speed for the entire 26.2 miles. “Anyone who has ever run a marathon will know just how hard it is to run the whole distance at the exact same pace,” he said. “And while elite athletes are very much better at it, a marathon distance run in just a few seconds under two hours requires exceptional accuracy.” Peter said Eliud had a tendency to want to go faster or slower at certain times during a marathon. “The problem is that any variation in pace can cause energetic demands that are more difficult to deal with than having a steady pace,” he said. “And it’s a well understood edict of distance running that the fastest times are set when the pace is even.” To ensure Eliud does run at the same pace, a car will travel in front of the runners at a constant speed. Sounds straightforward, but it has been anything but that. Early on Peter and his team, who were working with skilled engineers, discovered that cruise control systems on cars are not 100% accurate. “Very few cars have an accelerator resolution that can give you better than 0.1kph,” he said. “If you extrapolate that over the course of a 42km race, that ends up being seconds of time that are left unaccounted for.” In short, if the timing car ran 0.1kph too slow over two hours, Eliud would finish the race in 2:00:34.3 “That was a big enough error to derail the entire challenge,” said Peter. So Peter set his team a goal: to get Eluid over the line in 1:59:50, within that second. “We certainly didn’t want to be outside of a second on either side of that,” he said. “If we had it slightly too fast, then ultimately what we would be doing is pulling more and more energy out of Eliud.” The RML Group, a high performance automotive engineering company, were hired to deliver that precision. They began by choosing a fully-electric SUV with plenty of space on board for all the equipment needed for the race. “There will be no emissions out of the back to upset any of the runners,” said Chris Francis, who heads up the Powertrain division at RML’s HQ in Wellingborough in the UK. The team at RML have worked flat out to ensure Eliud’s journey to the finish line is a smooth one. The runners and the car will carry a transponder chip, which will be read by each of the one kilometre markers, providing accurate feedback on split times and speeds. “We will then know exactly when the car passed all of the kilometre split points,” said Chris. “This allows the car to apply a further correction as it travels around the course.” But that’s not all. To ensure nothing is left to chance, a second car – equipped with the same software – will be on standby. “In the event of a problem with the primary car, we can swap the cars, or swap the spare car into position,” said Chris. Both cars are also fitted with lasers that project a formation pattern and a pace line on the road to help the pacemakers hold their position – and a digital LED board so the runners can keep track of the time. In training, the cars have performed beautifully. “We have been typically hitting the finish line with an error of less than a metre, which equates to less than 0.2seconds over the course of the two hours,” said Chris. It’s a remarkable piece of technology which an impressive level of accuracy — five times better than that demanded by Peter Vint. “On the day of the challenge, it is likely to fade into the background,” said Peter. “But spectators should maybe spare a thought for the boys in Wellingborough as their timing car leads Eliud towards the finish.”

6 min read
e-mag-weather-min.png

Weather

Ensuring that Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon attempt takes place in the best possible weather conditions has been one of the most challenging parts of the whole endeavour. AVERAGE METEOROLOGICAL DATA, VIENNA, OCTOBER MIN. TEMP: 6.4° MAX. TEMP: 14.3° AVERAGE HUMIDITY: 79% AVERAGE WIND: 9.1KM/H PRECIPITATION: 0.33MM TO run a fast marathon, the weather has got to be right. Humidity, rain, wind speed and direction can all hinder performance. But temperature is perhaps the most important. “In long distance running events the ability of bodies to maintain or regulate heat is what ultimately determines how long athletes can last at a given intensity, along with their internal energy state and their fitness,” said Performance Team Manager Peter Vint. The heat – especially when it is also humid – makes it harder to sweat so an athlete struggles to stay cool. If it rains, clothing and trainers become heavier. And anyone, who enjoys running, knows how hard it is to run when it’s windy. Ensuring that Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon attempt takes place in the best possible weather conditions has been one of the most challenging parts of the whole endeavour. The weather team have worked from three different forecasts, each relevant at different times. The first was used to decide when Eliud should travel to Vienna. The second was studied to pick the day for the event which would also determine when Eliud entered his final tapering phase. And the final decision was to identify the precise two-hour window for optimal conditions on the day. Robby Ketchell was the man in the hot seat — a spot he’d been in before when he worked on Eliud’s previous attempt to run a marathon in under two hours. Robby’s first job was to find a venue that would provide — amongst other things — the best chance of getting the right weather. The initial search stretched back 15 years and was set on a grid of 100km. “We wrote a bespoke tool that went out and searched the weather data from stations all around the world,” he said. Vienna was eventually chosen as the venue for the challenge because it offered the best chance of getting the right environmental conditions — along with other parameters like time zone and altitude. But the biggest factor in its favour was that the course was tree-lined, which would help to protect Eliud from the wind. That said, Robby’s team still wanted to discover what Eliud was likely to face in the race. “Some of the weather stations we were using through the local Met office, are located in the hills, so we didn’t have an accurate indication of what the free flow was right above the course,” he said. To provide that information, the team mounted reference station about three metres above the trees so the two could be compared. They also mounted wind sensors just below the treeline and above the centre of the road – and ran tests with sensors on tripods at head height. All of the equipment had to be built, shipped to Vienna and installed by the team. Fortunately, Robby has not been handling all the heat on his own. He has support from Walter Zwieflhofer, a former ECMWF Director of Operations and a meteorologist with the INEOS TEAM UK sailing team. But it seems that — despite all the work, and even with the very best forecasting technology – the team will still need a little help from mother nature for the stars to fully align on the day.

6 min read
e-mag-before-race-min.png

Before The Race

SIXTEEN years ago Eliud’s coach Patrick Sang gave him a piece of advice he has never forgotten. Treat yourself as the best athlete, he said. Eliud had qualified for the 5000m final at the 2003 World Championships in Paris – and was facing Kenenisa Bekele and Hicham El Guerrouj, two legends of the sport. Eliud, then just 18, went on to beat them both and win the gold medal. “From that day on I’ve always entered any race believing I will achieve my goals,” he said. “And nothing has changed over the past 16 years. To me, the INEOS 1:59 Challenge is no different.” But he not only has faith in his own abilities; he trusts the entire team around him too. Sports nutritionist Armand Bettonviel has been just one of those with a critical job. He needed to know exactly what day Eliud would be running so that he could modify the Kenyan’s diet. “I could not extend it very much because he would start to put on weight from having more fuel,” he said. “And that would not enhance his performance.” In the build-up to the race, Armand explained that eating 100g of carbohydrates could result in Eliud’s weight increasing by 400g due to water retention. Armand said his other main challenge would be to ensure Eliud was well hydrated during the actual race. Eliud flew to Vienna from his training camp in Kenya about a week ago so he could see – and run – the course. “I do get nervous before a big day,” he said. “But I try to concentrate. I try to relax.” His pre-race ritual will involve eating a bowl of oatmeal and drinking one bottle of Maurten, a virtually tasteless hydrogel that is quickly absorbed by the body. Once he hits the road, it will be a cyclist’s job to keep up with him and hand over more Maurten to help keep his record-breaking feat on track.

3 min read
e-mag-no-human-min.png

No Human Is Limited Campaign

IT is human nature to push boundaries. To continue to learn, develop and achieve more. But it’s also human nature to put limits on yourself – and others. It is that attitude, that state of mind, which Eliud hopes to change by breaking through the two-hour barrier. His legacy may be one for the history books, but this is his chance to inspire people to do great things, even beyond sport, to challenge themselves in a way they may never have dared. “Any human being can go beyond their limits,” he said. “Any human being can go beyond their thoughts. But self-belief is crucial.” “I totally believe in myself and believe in my teammates and my training.” It is this philosophy that is shared by INEOS and an exceptional group of men and women involved in sport, which has inspired the launch of No Human is Limited. Named after Eliud’s personal mantra, the campaign aims to encourage people from across the world to embrace this philosophy and believe that no one is limited in their lives. The campaign is supported by a team of high-profile ambassadors including four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome. “To see Eliud break the two-hour record would show that limits can be defied and actually that limits should never be set in sport,” he said. “Who sets the limits anyway?”

3 min read
e-mag-ambassadors-min.png

Ambassadors

ELIUD KIPCHOGE Any human being can go beyond their limits. No human being should be limited in their thoughts, in what he or she should be doing. Self-belief is crucial. CHRIS FROOME I don’t like to think in terms of limits. HERMANN MAIER It should never enter your head that something is impossible but tell yourself that it is possible instead. SIR BEN AINSLIE I think in terms of what your aspirations are, what your goals are, there really shouldn’t be any limits. ABDI NAGEEYE Why would you put a limit on yourself when you don’t even know what your limit is? ELAINE WYLLIE It’s our job to make children feel unlimited, to feel that they can do whatever they want to do, and achieve what they want to achieve. PATRICK VIEIRA You have to go beyond the limit - there should be no limits. There are no limits to what is possible.

1 min read
e-mag-tdm-min.png

The Daily Mile Foundation

THIS will not be the end of the road for Eliud Kipchoge. Far from it. As a global ambassador for The Daily Mile, he plans to continue spreading the word about the importance of running – and inspire children around the world to be more active. “A running world is a peaceful world and a happy world,” he said. Earlier this year, the Kenyan father-of-three visited a school in Britain to run The Daily Mile with the children. It is a simple initiative which involves every child going outside for just 15 minutes to run or jog, at their own pace, with their classmates. Afterwards, the children asked Eliud about footwear, nutrition, sleep, his passion for running – and why he could run so fast. The Daily Mile was founded in 2012 by Scottish headteacher Elaine Wyllie, who was worried about her unfit pupils. Today about 1.8 million children from more than 8,600 schools in 65 countries now regularly run or walk for 15 minutes every day. A number of research studies have shown that children, who do The Daily Mile, are fitter, leaner, healthier and happier and more eager to learn when they return to their desks. It comes as no surprise to Eliud – and that’s why he is keen to use the legacy from the INEOS 1:59 Challenge to encourage every child around the world to think about their health and wellbeing – and start running. The Daily Mile Foundation is backed by INEOS.

2 min read