On 12 October, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge rocked the world of running to its core by becoming the first man in history to run a sub-two-hour marathon.
At an event in Vienna specially arranged for him to attempt this game-changing feat, Olympic champion Kipchoge set this new record with a tight finish time of 1 hour 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
As the world continues to reel from this impressive news, here’s everything you need to know about Kipchoge and his career as a long-distance runner so far.
How old is Eliud Kipchoge?
Kipchoge has accomplished this incredible record at 34 years old.
He has three older siblings and was raised by his single mother, who was a teacher.
He was born in the Nandi District in Kenya in 1984, and used to run two miles to school each day, although at that time he wasn’t training as a runner.
Days before he successfully beat this marathon record, Kipchoge penned an article for the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) detailing advice he would give to his younger self.
In it, he wrote: ‘You don’t realise it yet, but growing up on a farm in rural Kenya will help you develop skills that will take you far in the sport of athletics.
‘From a young age, you already possess a good work ethic and self-discipline. Each day you help fetch water from the river for your mother and take care of the farm animals.’
He added: ‘You are also a good student. You enjoy school. You always work hard and are keen to give of your best. These are the principles you will later transfer to your running career.’
When he was 16, he met Olympic medalist Patrick San, who would become his trainer and, according to the IAAF article, his ‘mentor, life coach and a father-figure’.
Currentl, Kipchoge lives with his wife, Grace Sugutt, and their three children in Eldoret, Kenya.
Eliud Kipchoge’s running career
In 2002, Kipchoge came fifth in the World Cross Country Championships in Dublin and was a member of the Gold-winning Kenyan junior team.
The following year, he won the junior race at the 2003 IAAF Cross Country Championships.
He also set a world junior record by running a 5000 m race in 12:52.61 minutes – a record which held for nine years.
Kipchoge took home a bronze medal in the 5000 m race at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and a silver medal in the 5000 m at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
In 2016, he scored the gold medal in the marathon race at the Summer Olympics and at the Rio Olympics that same year, with a running time of 2 hours 8 minutes and 44 seconds.
In 2015, he won the Berlin Marathon even though his shoes began to fall apart during the race, and in 2016, he won the London Marathon for the second year in a row.
That second London Marathon win was achieved with a run time of 2 hours 3 minutes and 5 seconds, which broke the course record and became the then-second-fastest marathon time ever.
When he ran the Berlin Marathon again in 2018, Kipchoge broke the then-world-record time by 1 minute and 18 seconds when he completed the race in 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds.
He previously attempted to run a marathon in under two hours two years ago, but that attempt was unsuccessful.
Even though his latest attempt did succeed, his run time will not be recognised by the IAAF as an official world record because the time was not achieved in an open event.
Instead, Kipchoge ran the 4.4 laps of the course assisted by 41 runners who were in turn helped with maintaining a consistent speed by a car that used lasers to light the road.
He was greeted with a hug from his wife at the finish line, and told reporters ‘I am feeling good’.