Ineos 1:59 Challenge

Last updated

Logo of the event INEOS 159 Challenge logo.svg
Logo of the event

The Ineos 1:59 Challenge was a successful 2019 attempt by Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge to break the two-hour mark for running the marathon distance. The event was specifically created for Kipchoge and held in Vienna, Austria, on 12 October 2019.


Due to rotating pacemakers, delivery of hydration by bicycle, and the lack of open competition, the achievement was not eligible to be ratified as a marathon world record, and is not recognized as such by World Athletics.


Kipchoge at the 2018 London Marathon London Marathon 2018 (41594080862).jpg
Kipchoge at the 2018 London Marathon

In 2016, Nike organized the Breaking2 project to train a team of runners for an attempt at completing a marathon distance in under two hours, a benchmark previously considered impossible to achieve. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, the world record holder in the men's marathon and the current defending Olympic marathon champion was one of the runners on that team. When the event was finally held on 6 May 2017 at Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Milan, Kipchoge finished first before the other runners, Zersenay Tadese and Lelisa Desisa, but fell short of the two-hour goal by 25 seconds. [1] [2]

On 6 May 2019, the 65th anniversary of the four-minute mile, multinational chemicals company Ineos announced that Kipchoge would attempt again to achieve a sub-two-hour marathon run, in an event sponsored by the company. [3] This marked a shift away from the original format of Breaking2. Instead of three participants, only Kipchoge targeted the record, having already set the marathon world record of 2:01:39 at the Berlin Marathon on 16 September 2018. [4]

For the Ineos challenge, Kipchoge was joined by forty-one pacemakers, [5] who rotated twice each lap and ran in a V-formation, rather than the diamond formation chosen for the previous attempt. Kipchoge was placed at the bottom of the formation with two pacemakers running behind him. [6] Each lap of the course featured two 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) out-and-back stretches of Hauptallee with the turning points coming at the Lusthaus and Praterstern roundabouts at either end of the avenue, in the Prater park. The entire route inclines only 2.4 metres (7.9 feet). Spectators were present for the attempt. [7]

The organizers planned to run the event on Saturday, 12 October 2019, but they had a reserve window of eight days in case of poor weather conditions. [8] The attempt was run on 12 October starting at 08:15 CET. Organizers allowed a start time between 05:00 and 09:00, but chose 08:15 to maximize viewership. The weather conditions were expected to be dry with a temperature of 9 °C (48 °F) at the start, rising to 12 °C (54 °F) at the finish. [9]


Ineos 1:59 Challenge [10] [11]
5 km splitsSplitTime
5 km14:100:14:10
10 km14:100:28:20
15 km14:140:42:34
20 km14:130:56:47
25 km14:121:10:59
30 km14:121:25:11
35 km14:121:39:23
40 km14:131:53:36
42.195 km6:041:59:40
Average 5 km14:10.8

Kipchoge completed the challenge with an official time of 1:59:40.2, an average speed of 5.88 metres per second (21.2 km/h; 13.2 mph). [12]

The achievement was recognised by Guinness World Records with the titles "Fastest marathon distance (male)" and "First marathon distance under two hours". [13] [14]

Directly after finishing the run, Kipchoge stated: "I am feeling good. After Roger Bannister in 1954 it took another 63 years, I tried and I did not get it - 65 years, I am the first man - I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited." [15]

Accessories and optimization strategies

The organizers of the attempt added many techniques during the run which cumulatively assisted Kipchoge and the pacemakers:

The Breaking2 attempt had been held behind closed doors at Monza with just a few press and Nike employees present. Kipchoge missed the presence of a crowd there and requested that the public be allowed to attend the Ineos 1:59 Challenge. [20]


A team of forty-one runners served as Kipchoge's pacemakers in the challenge. [21]

Joel Ayeko Two-time World Mountain Running Championship silver medalist. [22]
Thomas Ayeko Junior silver medalist at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships [23]
Selemon Barega 2018 Diamond League champion over 5000 m [24]
Emmanuel Bett Fastest time over 10,000 metres in the 2012 season [25]
Hillary Bor Gold medalist, 3000 metres steeplechase at the 2019 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships [26]
Matthew Centrowitz 2016 Olympic and World Indoor Champion over 1500 m [27]
Paul Chelimo Olympic and World medalist over 5000 m [28]
Augustine Choge 2006 Commonwealth Games Champion over 5000 m. Part of Eliud Kipchoge’s training group [29]
Victor Chumo Part of Eliud Kipchoge’s training group [30]
Filip Ingebrigtsen Reigning European Cross-Country champion and 2016 European 1500m Champion [31]
Henrik Ingebrigtsen 2012 European 1500m Champion [32]
Jakob Ingebrigtsen European Indoor and outdoor champion. Youngest pacemaker. [33]
Philemon Kacheran Part of Eliud Kipchoge’s training group [34]
Stanley Kebenei [35]
Justus Kimutai [36]
Shadrack Kipchirchir Silver medalist at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 metres [37]
Noah Kipkemboi [38]
Gideon Kipketer Part of Eliud Kipchoge’s training group [39]
Jacob Kiplimo Silver medalist, IAAF World Cross Country Championships [40]
Marius Kipserem [41]
Eric Kiptanui [42]
Moses Koech [43]
Shadrack Koech [44]
Micah Kogo Former World Record holder for 10k road run. [45]
Alex Korio [46]
Jonathan Korir [47]
Ronald Kwemoi Gold medalist, 2014 Kenyan National Championship in the 1500 metres [48]
Bernard Lagat Oldest pacemaker. Was part of the Breaking2 challenge. Beat Kipchoge to the 5000 m World title in 2007. [49]
Lopez Lomong Part of the Breaking2 attempt in 2017. [50]
Abdallah Mande [51]
Stewart McSweyn [52]
Kota Murayama [53]
Ronald Musagala [54]
Kaan Kigen Özbilen [55]
Jack Rayner [56]
Chala Regasa [57]
Brett Robinson [58]
Nicholas Rotich Part of Eliud Kipchoge’s training group [59]
Patrick Tiernan [60]
Timothy Toroitich [61]
Julien Wanders Former World Record holder for 5k road run. [62] Current European record holder for the half marathon [63] and the European record holder for the 10K run. [64]

Related Research Articles

Marathon world record progression

This list is a chronological progression of record times for the marathon. World records in the marathon are now ratified by World Athletics, the international governing body for the sport of athletics.

Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopian long-distance runner

Kenenisa Bekele is an Ethiopian long-distance runner and was the world record holder in both the 5000-metre and 10000-metre from 2004 (5,000m) and 2005 (10,000m) until 2020. He won the gold medal in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m events at the 2008 Summer Olympics. At the 2004 Olympics, he won the gold medal in the 10,000 m and the silver medal in the 5000 m.


The Prater is a large public park in Leopoldstadt, Vienna, Austria. The Wurstelprater, an amusement park that is often simply called "Prater", lies in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel.

Augustine Kiprono Choge Kenyan runner

Augustine Kiprono Choge is a Kenyan middle distance and long distance runner.

Eliud Kipchoge Kenyan long-distance runner

Eliud Kipchoge is a Kenyan professional long-distance runner who competes in the marathon and formerly competed at the 5000 metre distance. He is the 2016 and 2020 Olympic marathon winner. In addition, he set the world record in the marathon with a time of 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His run broke the previous world record by 1 minute and 18 seconds. He is widely regarded as the greatest marathon runner and one of the greatest sportsmen in history.

Running economy (RE) measures runners' energy utilization when running at an aerobic intensity, and many physiological and biomechanical factors contribute to it. Oxygen consumption (VO2) is the most direct method for measuring running economy, as the exchange of gases in the body, specifically oxygen and carbon dioxide, closely reflects energy metabolism. Those who are able to consume less oxygen while running at a given velocity are said to have a better running economy.

Lelisa Desisa Ethiopian long-distance runner

Lelisa Desisa Benti is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who specialises in road running competitions. Desisa gained his first international medal at the 2009 African Junior Athletics Championships, where he took the 10,000 metres gold medal.

Suguru Osako Japanese long-distance runner

Suguru Osako is a Japanese long-distance runner. He won the 10,000 metres gold medal at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen and holds the Asian junior record for the half marathon. He held the Japanese National Record for the marathon of 2:05:29 set at the 2020 Tokyo Marathon, where he finished fourth.

A negative split is a racing strategy that involves completing the second half of a race faster than the first half. It is defined by the intentional setting of a slower initial pace, followed by a gradual or sudden increase of speed towards the end of the race. Alternate strategies include even splitting or sit and kick. Conversely, the act of completing the first half of a race faster than the second half is known as a positive split.

Mule Wasihun Ethiopian long-distance runner

Mule Wasihun Lakew is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who competes in road running events up to the marathon distance. He was a team silver medallist at the 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. He holds a marathon best of 2:03:16 hours. Wasihun is currently part of the NN Running Team, an international team of elite long-distance runners managed by Global Sports Communication in Nijmegen, Netherlands.

Jacob Kiplimo is a Ugandan long-distance runner who competes in track running events. He is the 2020 Half Marathon World Champion. He represented his country at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Breaking2 Project by Nike

Breaking2 was a project by Nike to break the two-hour barrier for the marathon. Nike announced the project in November 2016 and organized a team of three elite runners who trained for a private race. The event was held on the Formula One race track Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy on May 6, 2017.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen Norwegian runner

Jakob Ingebrigtsen is a Norwegian middle- and long-distance runner. He won the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 1500 metres event, setting the new Olympic and European record. Ingebrigtsen also won two gold medals at the 2018 European Championships for the 1500 and 5000 metres events. He is the current world record holder in the indoor 1500m.

The 2018 Berlin Marathon was the 45th edition of the Berlin Marathon. The marathon took place in Berlin, Germany, on 16 September 2018 and was the fourth World Marathon Majors race of the year. The men's race was won by Eliud Kipchoge, who set a new world record time of 2:01:39. The women's race was won by Gladys Cherono in a time of 2:18:11.

Brigid Kosgei Kenyan long-distance runner

Brigid Jepchirchir Kosgei is a Kenyan long-distance runner who specialises in the marathon. She won the 2018 and 2019 Chicago Marathons, the 2019 and 2020 London Marathons and the 2021 Tokyo Marathon. Kosgei is the current marathon world record holder for women running in a mixed-sex race, with a time of 2:14:04 achieved on 13 October 2019 at the Chicago Marathon. She also came second in the marathon event at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

2019 London Marathon 39th running of the London marathon

The 2019 London Marathon was the 39th running of the annual marathon race in London, United Kingdom, which took place on 28 April. The elite men's race was won by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who took his fourth London Marathon victory in a time of 2:02:37, the second fastest marathon ever at that point. The women's race was won by Brigid Kosgei, also of Kenya, in 2:18:20. American Daniel Romanchuk won the men's wheelchair title in 1:33:38 while Switzerland's Manuela Schär won the women's title in 1:44:09. Changes were made to the course to make it more environmentally friendly; the number of plastic bottles used was reduced and biodegradable alternatives were used instead.

2019 World Athletics Championships – Mens marathon Long distance running race at the 2019 World Athletics Championships

The men's marathon was one of the road events at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Due to the heat in Doha, the race was scheduled to begin at 23:59 on 5 October 2019. Even with the unusual timing, high temperatures were expected to provide difficult conditions for running, but in the end temperatures dropped to around 29 °C (84 °F) and 50% humidity. The race was won by Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia in 2 h 10 min 40 s, followed four seconds behind by his compatriot Mosinet Geremew. Amos Kipruto of Kenya was third in 2:10:51.

Jack Rayner is an Australian long-distance runner. He qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. He ran in the men's marathon but failed to finish due to cramping in both his legs after running 500 meters.

Alex Korio is a Kenyan long-distance runner. In 2019, he competed in the men's 10,000 metres at the 2019 World Athletics Championships held in Doha, Qatar. He finished in 11th place.

Marius Kipserem Kenyan long-distance runner

Marius Kipserem is a Kenyan long-distance runner who specializes in the marathon. He has notably won the Rotterdam Marathon twice in 2016 and 2019. With his second victory, he set a new course record and personal best of 2:04:11. He also won the 2018 Abu Dhabi Marathon and finished second at the 2016 Eindhoven Marathon. He was also a member of the team that helped pace Eliud Kipchoge for the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in 2019.


  1. "Eliud KIPCHOGE | Profile |". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  2. "#Breaking2: Eliud Kipchoge goes close to sub-two hour marathon at Nike event". 6 May 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  3. "Eliud Kipchoge to challenge the sub two-hour marathon". 6 May 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  4. "Kipchoge breaks marathon world record in Berlin with stunning 2:01:39| News |". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  5. "Introducing Eliud Kipchoge's 41-person team of INEOS 1:59 pacers". Canadian Running Magazine. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  6. 1 2 Burgess, Matt (14 October 2019). "The incredible science behind Eliud Kipchoge's 1:59 marathon". Wired. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  7. "Ineos 1:59 Challenge: Eliud Kipchoge confident of breaking two-hour marathon barrier". 11 October 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  8. "The INEOS-159 challenge: Venue set for Kipchoge sub two-hour marathon attempt". Get Sweat Go. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  9. "Kipchoge's team announce 0815 start for sub-two hour marathon attempt". Reuters. 11 October 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  10. "The incredible numbers behind Kipchoge's sub two-hour marathon". The Independent. 12 October 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  11. "INEOS 1:59 Challenge Live", YouTube , retrieved 12 October 2019
  12. "Eliud Kipchoge breaks two-hour marathon mark by 20 seconds". 12 October 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  13. "First marathon distance run under two hours". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  14. "Fastest marathon distance (male)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  15. Wilson, Andy (12 October 2019). "Eliud Kipchoge net worth: How much is marathon star worth as two-hour barrier is broken?". Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  16. Roe, Dan. "Everything We Know About Eliud Kipchoge's Barrier-Breaking Shoes". Runner's World. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  17. Sutcliffe, Steve (17 October 2019). "'It feels like running on trampolines' - Kipchoge & Kosgei's marathon trainers".
  18. "Why are the trainers Eliud Kipchoge wore when he broke the two-hour marathon record controversial". The Independent. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  19. Bloom, Ben (11 October 2019). "Eliud Kipchoge's extraordinary and controversial two-hour marathon attempt - everything you need to know". The Telegraph. ISSN   0307-1235 . Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  20. Bloom, Ben (6 May 2019). "Eliud Kipchoge plans to stage second attempt at breaking two-hour marathon barrier in London later this year". The Telegraph. ISSN   0307-1235 . Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  21. "Team". Archived from the original on 15 April 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  22. "Joel Ayeko". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  23. "Thomas Ayeko". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  24. "Selemon Barega". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  25. "Emmanuel Bett". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  26. "Hillary Bor". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  27. "Matthew Centrowitz". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  28. "Paul Chelimo". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  29. "Augustine Choge". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  30. "Victor Chumo". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  31. "Filip Ingebrigtsen". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  32. "Henrik Ingebrigtsen". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  33. "Jakob Ingebrigtsen". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  34. "Philemon Kacheran". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  35. "Stanley Kebenei". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  36. "Justus Kimutai". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  37. "Shadrack Kipchirchir". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  38. "Noah Kipkemboi". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  39. "Gideon Kipketer". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  40. "Jacob Kiplimo". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  41. "Marius Kipserem". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  42. "Eric Kiptanui". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  43. "Moses Koech". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  44. "Shadrack Koech". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  45. "Micah Kogo". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  46. "Alex Korio". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  47. "Jonathan Korir". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  48. "Ronald Kwemoi". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  49. "Bernard Lagat". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  50. "Lopez Lomong". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  51. "Abdallah Mande". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  52. "Stewart McSweyn". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  53. "Kota Murayama". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  54. "Ronald Musagala". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  55. "Kaan Kigen Ozbilen". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  56. "Jack Rayner". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  57. "Chala Regasa". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  58. "Brett Robinson". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  59. "Nicholas Rotich". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  60. "Patrick Tiernan". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  61. "Timothy Toroitich". Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  62. "Joshua Cheptegei Shatters 5K World Record in Monaco". 16 February 2020.
  63. Julien Wanders (59:13) Shatters European Record; Stephen Kiprop (58:42) and Senbere Teferi (65:45) Win 2019 RAK Half
  64. "Julien Wanders". Retrieved 12 October 2019.