World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has made history by becoming the first person to run the distance in under two hours.
The athletic achievement by the 34-year-old Kenyan is considered the holy grail of running and will secure his legendary status.
Kipchoge was even able to wave to the crowds as he sprinted towards the finish line and complete the 26.2 mile distance in an incredible one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds – a full 20 seconds ahead of the two-hour mark.
In jubilant scenes, a beaming Kipchoge, showing no signs of exertion from the gruelling course, continued running as he celebrated with well-wishers and was embraced by his wife.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sent his “hearty congratulations”, writing on Twitter: “You’ve done it, you’ve made history and made Kenya proud while at it.
“Your win today, will inspire tens of future generations to dream big and to aspire for greatness.”
The remarkable run in Vienna by the four-time winner of the London marathon follows six months of gruelling preparation.
“Hearty congratulations @EliudKipchoge. You’ve done it, you’ve made history and made Kenya proud while at it. Your win today, will inspire tens of future generations to dream big and to aspire for greatness. We celebrate you and wish you God’s blessings.” – President Kenyatta
— State House Kenya (@StateHouseKenya) October 12, 2019
It is his second shot at the chalenge, having missed out on the elusive target by just 25 seconds in his first attempt in Monza two years ago.
Although the landmark feat will not stand as an official record because it was not in open competition and used a 41-strong team of rotating pacesetters, it marks a major milestone in running and world sport.
Speaking during the attempt in Vienna, Britain’s four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome expressed confidence Kipchoge would succeed.
Froome told Sky News: “I feel just as nervous on the other side of the barriers for him but he looks so calm, so composed.
“I’ve got all the confidence he is going to pull this off. He’s just gliding along. It’s incredible to watch and witness this first hand.
“The crowds are great, lots of Kenyans and his fellow countrymen being here will give him that added motivation and drive to get this done.
“If he pulls it off it would just show limits can be pushed, limits can be broken.”