Kipchoge in a private jet to attempt sub-two hours in marathon
After seven months of intensive training in Kaptagat, out of reach from the rest of the world, Eliud Kipchoge finally left the country on Monday night for the much publicised INEOS 1:59 Challenge, in Vienna, Austria.
He tweeted that he landed safely in the Austrian city after the eight-hour flight.
The current world marathon record holder, arguably one of the most-watched man in the world at the moment, left Eldoret International Airport like a king, with a team of his handlers, his coach Patrick Sang and some of his pacesetters for the race, aboard an executive Gulfstream G550 private jet. The plane made a brief refuelling stop-over at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport before departing for Austria.
Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) Director-General Gilbert Kibe requested the Air Traffic Control to salute Kipchoge and wish him well on his quest on the radio.
Saturday’s race, which will see the Olympic champion compete against the clock, has a lot at stake because if he completes the marathon in less than two hours, he will go down in history and in the Guinness Book of Records as the first human to achieve the feat. He is determined to prove that humans can run 42 kilometres in under two hours.
“After breaking the World Record in Berlin in 2018, Eliud shared how watching jets fly past during national days as a young boy inspired him to start running so that one day he would board an aircraft. Many years later, a Gulfstream private jet lands in Eldoret to ferry him to #KipchogeINEOSChallenge This is a rich lesson to young kids that nothing can hold their dreams back. Regardless of what happens in Austria, Eliud Kipchoge is the G.O.A.T,” said a fan, Mutwiri Mutuota, as social media went into a frenzy about the athlete’s kingly departure.
Another fan Kiprono said: “I don’t know if you people get this hype. Eliud Kipchoge has lacked people to compete with and has instead decided to compete against time and do the unthinkable. . . That is running a marathon under two hours, something never is done before. What a moment.”
Mc Kim tweeted: “Finally, the cream de la cream of all marathons is here. He is not competing with anyone nor to win his title but to go below the 2-hour mark. He is competing with time. I trust that he will do it on Saturday.”
The thought of the race was mooted by the richest man in Britain, Jim Ratcliffe, the owner of INEOS and a marathon enthusiast having run and completed 30 marathons himself.
Though INEOS, a privately owned UK multinational chemicals giant, has not announced any price money for Kipchoge, in case he achieves the feat, Ratcliffe, with a net worth of Sh1.2 trillion, is believed to have lined-up a mouth-watering reward for him.
The 41 pacesetters in the race who include Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega who recently won a silver medal in the 10,000m race at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, will each set pace for Kipchoge for a kilometre before they leave him to cover the final kilometre on his own.
For the last seven months, Kipchoge who has been going through a well-structured training programme was assigned coaches, nutritionists, physiotherapists and doctors and kept away from the “outside world” including the local and international media.
Meanwhile, the Kipchoge hype has not spared local telecommunications giant Safaricom. In honour of the marathoner, Safaricom will replace the Mpesa logo with Kipchoge’s portrait from today until Saturday, after the race.