MATIVO: Why Kipchoge is on an impossible mission in Vienna


MATIVO: Why Kipchoge is on an impossible mission in Vienna

In Summary

  • The INEOS 1:59 barrier that awaits the son of the soil first of all it defies characterization
  • The metrics alone are daunting: Breaking the two hour threshold will mean maintaining an average pace of at least 13.1 miles per hour
Stanley Mativo 

Eliud Kipchoge has beat every human field thrown at him and now he wants to defy time at the much publicised sub-two hour marathon quest in Vienna, Austria, but can he?

Pundits have almost unanimously predicted that Saturday’s outcome will favour the world marathon record holder after he missed the last attempt with only 26 seconds in Monza, Italy in 2017 but yours truly he is of the contrary opinion that Kipchoge is chasing an impossible mission.

Of course, by choosing this path I truly expect nothing but a total backlash from the naysayers and netizens but before then, spare me a chance to justify my stand.

To remind you, there is a winner and a loser in any battle and Saturday’s event is no different.

There is no doubt my patriotism is unquestionable and I know I should support Mr. Kipchoge as a Kenyan as I have always done, but here is the reason as to why I am not on the same script  with many Kenyans on this particular time.

Why is it difficult?

The INEOS 1:59 barrier that awaits the son of the soil first of all it defies characterization.

The metrics alone are daunting: Breaking the two hour threshold will mean maintaining an average pace of at least 13.1 miles per hour. (For reference, the current world record, 2:01:39, translates to an average pace of 12.786 miles per hour.)

A statistical analysis research published in February this year in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, an American College of Sports Medicine’s flagship journal found that a male marathon runner breaking the two-hour barrier is not likely to happen until 2032.

For female runners is that it may never happen for them, with the same analysis suggesting two hours five minutes and 31 seconds is the top marathon speed they will ever achieve.

Kipchoge could break the sub-2 barrier on Saturday, but it is very very unlikely: there’s just a 2% chance of it ever happening, to be precise.

According to the research, going sub-2 could happen any time now, but the chance of success is tiny: less than 1 in 50. By May 2032, the chances of success rise to 10% – a fighting chance for the sub-2 record arrives.

Leading sports scientist quoted by CNN in August this year, said the conditions are “contrived” and likens it more to breaking the high jump record on Mars this was after Kipchoge likened his upcoming attempt to Neil Armstrong’s historic moon landing in 1969.

“Getting man to the moon involved overcoming gravity. What Kipchoge is doing is taking gravity out of the equation,” Professor Ross Tucker told CNN Sport. “It would be the same as breaking the high jump record [set in 1993 by Cuba’s Javier Sotomayor at a height of 2.45m] on Mars where there is less gravity.”

The world is holding its breath as the clock ticks towards the much-anticipated event and if the widely regarded greatest marathoner of the modern era dips under two hours with no now doubt that will be the defining moment of Kipchoge’s illustrious career and yours truly wishes him well in the mission I have declared impossible.

All the best G.O.A.T.

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