marathon world record

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Eliud Kipchoge likens next shot at two-hour marathon to moon landing

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Reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, who plans another shot at breaking the two-hour barrier in the event, said Wednesday that the feat would hold a high place in the history of human achievement.

“This is about history and making a mark in sport. It’s like the first man to go to the moon, I will be the first man to run under two hours, this is crucial,” Kipchoge told reporters from his training base in Kaptagat, Kenya. “I’m really excited I’m really looking forward to this historic day.”

Kipchoge holds the official world record of 2:01:39, set in 2018, and he posted a time of 2:00:25 in 2017 on a race track in Monza, Italy. Timed runs under controlled conditions outside of a formal race typically aren’t eligible to be considered as official world records.

The next attempt will take place in Vienna sometime during a window from Oct. 12 to Oct. 20, depending on when the weather is best.

Kipchoge has won 11 of the 12 marathons he has entered, dating back to 2013. His 2016 Olympic gold finished a hat trick of medals that included bronze in the 5,000 meters in 2004 and silver in the same event in 2008.

Breaking the two-hour mark would require a pace of 4:35 per mile.

The official and unofficial record-holder struck a confident tone on Wednesday.

““I was like a boxer who is going in the ring (in 2017) and doesn’t know what will happen,” he said. “But this time I am prepared, and I know what will happen.”

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Wilson Kipsang: I am very focused on the marathon world record

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The men’s marathon world record has been broken five of the last nine years at the Berlin Marathon.

Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, believes that he can do it again on Sunday, when the race will stream live on the NBC Sports app beginning at 2:30 a.m. ET.

“I’ve trained well and, three years down the line from my world record here, I feel good and believe I have the potential to attempt the world record once more,” he said at today’s press conference, according to the IAAF. “Running at the top level, there is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially when you are running for a time, but I am very focused on the world record.”

Kipsang clocked 2 hours, 3 minutes, 23 seconds when he broke the world record in 2013. A year later, fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto lowered it to 2:02:57 on the same course. Kimetto will not race in Berlin this year.

Kipsang will be challenged by Kenyan compatriot Emmanuel Mutai, who has the fastest time (2:03:13) in the field, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.

Bekele is a three-time Olympic track champion and the 5000m and 10,000m world-record holder, but acknowledged that his marathon personal best of 2:05:04 places him a distant fourth in the field.

“I consider my personal best of 2:05 to be slow compared to the best runners,” he said. “I want to run as fast as I can on Sunday and beat my best.”

MORE: Berlin Marathon to live stream on NBC Sports app