Saturday October 12th, 2019
Mankind have constantly sought to reach new frontiers and to achieve the impossible. From Edmund Hillary reaching the summit of Mount Everest to Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile to Felix Baumgartner jumping from space we have frequently redefined the limits of human achievement and broken new barriers previously seen as simply impossible.
After the four-minute mile and the ten second 100m sprint there remains one great barrier in modern athletics. One barrier which was previously seen as beyond our reach. The sub two-hour marathon. INEOS 1:59 Challenge will seek to break that barrier.
In 2017 Eliud Kipchoge and Nike got closer than anyone thought was possible when in the Nike Breaking2 attempt Kipchoge achieved a stunning time of 2:00:25. At the time Eliud reflected on his pride that humanity is now only 26 seconds away from achieving the impossible. Now, after smashing the official world record in Berlin in 2018 and running the second fastest marathon in history to win London, Eliud believes the time is right for him, and humanity, to push again to run a sub two-hour marathon.
INEOS will work with some of the world’s best experts in sport, in particular with Eliud’s own team, but it can draw on other disciplines from TEAM INEOS and INEOS TEAM UK where necessary, to give Eliud the best possible chance of success.
On 6 May 1964, Sir Roger Bannister achieved what many believed to be impossible and ran the world’s first sub-four-minute mile at the Iffley Road track in Oxford. That historic achievement remains one of the most iconic events in the history of sport.
Today, on its 65thanniversary, Eliud Kipchoge, the greatest marathon runner of all time, is announcing his plan to break the legendary two-hour barrier.
Eliud came close to making history in his first attempt to go sub-two when he clocked 2:00.25 in a specially created event (not recognised as an official world record) at Monza, Italy in May 2017.
On 17 September 2018, Eliud then took 1 minute 18 seconds off the official world record in an awe-inspiring performance at the Berlin Marathon, clocking 2:01:39.
Now, following a historic fourth London Marathon win, the world number one believes he is ready to break the two-hour barrier in the INEOS 1.59 Challenge.
Eliud Kipchoge says, “I learnt a lot from my previous attempt and I truly believe that I can go 26 seconds faster than I did in Monza two years ago. It gives me great pride to accept the challenge presented by INEOS. I am very excited about the months of good preparation to come and to show the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
Eliud will be supported by Patrick Sang, his inspirational long-term coach, and the team that has led him throughout his successful career who will do all they can during the preparatory phase to ensure that nothing is left to chance. "As Eliud showed in Monza,when he came withintouching distance of achieving what many had previously thought impossible, heis a truly special athlete with incredible levels of mental resolve,"explains Patrick."Throughout his dazzling marathon career he has pushed the event to a new stratosphere and with the right preparation, I believe he has the ability to make history."
The venue for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge is currently being decided, with a number of options that offer a flat looped circuit being investigated for the event which is planned for late September or early October 2019.
A major marketing campaign will publicise the run and live coverage will be broadcast across the world, both on traditional and digital channels. Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to attend.
The INEOS 1:59 Challenge is supported by INEOS, one of the world’s largest manufacturing companies, which also sponsors the children’s running charities, GO Run For Fun and The Daily Mile.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Founder and Chairman of INEOS says, “Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest ever marathon runner and the only athlete in the world who has any chance of beating the two-hour time. We are going to give him every support and hopefully witness sporting history.”