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First sub-2 hour marathon happens, meticulously planned and executed

The world is celebrating another major sporting milestone, the first sub-2 hour marathon, run in Vienna by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in 1:59:40.2.

It’s a wonderful achievement and sure, it feels like one of those “I’m glad I was alive to see it” moments, like Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon in 1969.

The other obvious comparison is with Roger Bannister running the first sub-4 minute mile in 1954, a “barrier” that was thought to be impossible to breach.

But Kipchoge’s achievement is also fascinating because of the planning and execution that went into it, with 41 other runners taking turns pacing him in a seven-man phalanx, green lasers shot from cars to show the correct pace on the road, and the choice of Vienna, where the course is pancake flat and mostly straight.


None of that bothered us, but we will admit the corporate presence of Ineos (which has also had a big effect on cycling, our favorite European sport), made us wince a bit.

But whatever, all of the sponsorships, pacers, and lasers still don’t get a man over a 26.2-mile distance in under 2 hours without an incredible performance of human endurance. We’re glad we were around to witness it.

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