(Reuters) – Kenyan world record holder Eliud Kipchoge has finalised a 41-member pacing squad for his second attempt to break the two-hour barrier for the marathon in Vienna, event organisers INEOS said on Friday.
Among the final batch of 14 athletes announced for the event in Vienna on Oct. 12, 10 are competing at the world athletics championships in Doha.
Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega, who won the 5,000 metres silver medal on Monday, was named along with Uganda’s Ronald Musagala, the two-time Diamond League 1,500m winner in 2019, and Olympic 1,500m champion Matthew Centrowitz of United States.
Kipchoge is hoping his latest attempt, dubbed as ‘INEOS 1:59 Challenge’, would be comparable in the annals of human achievement to standing on the moon or scaling Everest for the first time.
“This is an incredible group of athletes that has been put together to help Eliud try to make history,” Spencer Barden, head of pacemakers for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, said in a statement.
“These athletes are coming in from all corners of the world. Many of them have had long, tough seasons on the track circuit but not one of them needed convincing. They all recognise this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“They recognise the greatness of Eliud and they want to help him break what is the last great barrier in athletics and become part of history.”
Kipchoge, the 2016 Olympics marathon gold medallist, lowered the legal world record by an whopping 78 seconds when posting 2:01.39 in Berlin last September and recorded the second-fastest time in history when winning the London marathon in 2:02.37 in April.
The 34-year-old ran 2:00.25 in his previous non-world record attempt in Italy in 2017 – the Breaking2 project.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)