Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran 2:00:25 tonight in Nike's Breaking-2 marathon attempt. The time just missed the two flat mark, but is more than two minutes faster than the standing world record of 2:02:57, set in 2014 by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya. Kipchoge's time will not count for record-keeping purposes, due to pacers utilized throughout the entire race, but the run -- which was live streamed on Twitter and Facebook with a free feed provided by Nike -- was revolutionary. No one can deny that the sub-two-hour marathon is out of the realm of possibility any longer.
Kipchoge, the 2016 Olympic marathon champion, was the last man standing of the three athletes hand-picked by Nike to make history on Saturday morning in Monza, Italy.
Check out the splits for each 5K below:
|2-hr Pace||Distance||Kipchoge's Splits||2-hr pace?||5K Split|
|14:13||5K||14:14||1 sec slow||14:14|
|28:26||10K||28:21||5 sec fast||14:07|
|42:39||15K||42:34||5 sec fast||14:13|
|56:52||20K||56:49||3 sec fast||14:15|
|1:00:00||Half||59:57||3 sec fast||-|
|1:11:05||25K||1:11:03||2 sec fast||14:14|
|1:25:18||30K||1:25:20||2 sec slow||14:17|
|1:39:31||35K||1:39:37||6 sec slow||14:17|
|1:53:44||40K||1:54:04||20 sec slow||14:27|
|2:00:00||Marathon||2:00:25||25 sec slow||-|
A pace car with a giant clock projected a laser image of where the army of pacers should be at all times during the race to stay on 1:59:59 pace. 30 men, in six groups of three, rotated pacing duties in an arrowhead formation around the athletes, and, at the end, around a red singlet and half shorts-clad Kipchoge. The pacers included American Nike athletes Bernard Lagat, Sam Chelanga, Lopez Lomong and Chris Derrick. Lagat was part of the final pace group, as Kipchoge hovered just over 2:00:00 pace -- clear to all from the clock on the pace car -- and "Kip" was extremely vocal in the live feed, gesturing to his fellow pacers and providing encouragement to the field. As Kipchoge entered the final stretch, all six pacers peeled off and cheered for their compatriot.
After the race, women's marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe interviewed Kipchoge on the Nike live stream.
"This journey has been good," he said moments after crossing the finish line. "It has been hard. Seven good months of dedication, preparation of everything. But I'm happy to have done that and I think this is history in matters of sport, yes."
The 32-year-old boasts nearly unheard-of track PBs for a marathoner: 3:33.2 for 1500m, 3:50.4 for the mile, 7:27.66 for 3K, 12:46.53 for 5K and 26:49.02 for 10K. He set his legal marathon PB last year in 2:03:05 in winning the London Marathon; he has also won the Chicago and Berlin Marathons. Kipchoge is a two-time Olympic medalist for 5K and won the IAAF World Championships 5K in 2003.
Tadese ran 2:06:51, while Desisa finished in 2:14:10.
The Nike-sponsored comedian Kevin Hart aided with color commentary, "man on the street" style, by interacting with fans and providing "regular guy" insight to what is the most elite marathoning event in world history. American Olympians Joan Benoit Samuelson and Allyson Felix held the finish line tape, and U.S. Olympic marathoner Shalane Flanagan also provided color commentary. Carl Lewis was on hand to interview Kipchoge at the awards ceremony after the race.