Marathon and athletics enthusiasts will shift focus to Vienna, Austria, as the greatest marathon runner of all time and current record holder Eliud Kipchoge takes on the track on Saturday to try and run a marathon under 2 hours, or sub two hours, becoming the first person to achieve such a feat. The challenge, dubbed the INEOS 1:59 challenge, and organized by UK Company INEOS. Kipchoge came close to breaking the barrier in 2017, when he clocked 2:00:25 before breaking the world record in Berlin. He will be the only runner on track tackling the challenge, with no competitors, although he will be accompanied by 41 pacemakers drawn from around the world, including fellow Kenyan runners. The starting time of the race will be confirmed before the penultimate day, but it may be between 8:00 am and 10:00 am Kenyan time, depending on the weather patterns and other factors.
Nandi residents have expressed great confidence ahead of the race. Speaking to West FM in Kapsabet led by former Kapsisiywo councillor Mr David Sulo, they said they are proud of Kipchoge and have hopes that he will make it. Some will watch the event at the sports house in Kapsabet and Kapsisiywo. INEOS will set up screens at the two points, in Kapsabet and Kapsisiywo, to enable fans to follow the event live. “No single athlete in the world has ever run the 42 KM distance in less than two hours but we have hopes that Kipchoge will do it.” Kipchoge together with his head coach Mr Patrick Sang who was the former CEC for Sports in Nandi flew out of the country on Monday on a private jet from the Eldoret International Airport to Vienna.
Furthermore, Safaricom will change their M-Pesa logo for the next seven days to show their support for Eliud Kipchoge. Speaking on Wednesday, Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph said it’s an honor to have the opportunity to the iconic M-Pesa brand to Kipchoge. “It’s a great honour for Safaricom to be associated with this great man Eliud Kipchoge,” he said.