Eliud Kipchoge believes breaking the two-hour barrier in the marathon would rank alongside the first moon landing and ascent of Mount Everest.
The Kenyan is bidding to move into uncharted territory at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna in October, having fallen 26 seconds short in his first attempt at Breaking2 in 2017.
However, the 34-year-old is convinced he will become the first human to run a sub two-hour marathon – a mark widely considered athletics’ final frontier.
“I have no doubts at all, I’m absolutely clear on the goal,” he told journalists on a call from his training camp in Kaptagat.
“I think it will be on the same place as standing on the moon, going up the tallest mountain. This is another historic moment.”
Kipchoge’s attempt is backed by billionaire Ineos owner Jim Ratcliffe, with a raft of innovations expected to help him reach maximal performance along with a world-class pacing team including Henrik, Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen.
He will run a multi-lap marathon over a 4.3km straight stretch inside the Prater Hauptallee, a location chosen due to its favourable weather conditions and, unlike his attempt in Monza two years ago, the ability for supporters to line the road.
“I think this about history. It’s about leaving a legacy … that is an inspiration to the whole human family, that no man is limited,” he said.
“After doing it, many athletes will believe in themselves and know that this thing is possible. They will not have limits in their lives.”
Eliud Kipchoge at the Nike Breaking2: Sub-Two Marathon Attempt at Autodromo di Monza on May 6, 2017 in Monza, Italy—Getty Images
Kipchoge, whose world record in an official race stands at two hours, one minute and 39 seconds, will shift his attention to defending his Olympic title in Tokyo after his Vienna run.
“I think it’s the right time for me to try and run under two hours,” he added, admitting that breaking the two-hour barrier in a typical race is probably beyond him.
“But above all, I want to make history before the Olympics.”