Eliud Kipchoge is a 34 year old Kenyan long distance runner who holds the world record marathon time of 2:01:39 set in 2018. On October 15, 2019, Kipchoge challenged his own record time at the Ineos 1:59 Challenge marathon in Vienna tailored for him to run sub-2 hours. He conquered this by running an average pace of 4 minutes and 34 seconds to cross the finish line at 1:59:40. Even though Kipchoge was successful, this run was not eligible to take over his previous world record.
The run was deemed unsuitable to be held as a world record because Kipchoge had advantages that made his marathon slightly non-traditional. The course he ran on was basically flat and he had someone to tell him the best positions to run for the time he was at. He had a group of pacemakers leading and following him that doubled as wind breakers. The pacemakers formed a v-shape to keep wind resistance at a minimal and switched positions when they got tired. The International Association of Athletics Federation’s (IAAF) rule book states that you may not have pacemakers move around during the race. He did not compete against other runners; the race was solely a competition against himself.
The fact that Kepchoge’s time did not stand for a new world record did not bother him at all. His pacemakers disadvantaged him in a way where his time would not classify as a new record, but advantaged him in terms of support. The only important part for him was making history and showing himself he could do it. Kepchoge used his pacemakers like a team building activity known as storming, where his team members challenged him to be greater. It is possible that knowing he was capable of doing it once with pacemakers as support will give him the confidence to do it again without them in the future.