Olympic champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge will attempt to run a sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna, Austria in October, organizers for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge announced on Thursday.
Kipchoge owns the marathon world record after taking 78 seconds off the previous mark with his 2:01:39 from last year's Berlin Marathon. The Kenyan star has also clocked the fastest time over marathon distance when he ran 2:00:25 in an optimized attempt by Nike to try and break the two-hour marathon barrier in Monza, Italy in May 2017. That run does not count as an official world record due to the use of alternating pacemakers to keep Kipchoge under the required pace. In order to get under the two-hour barrier, he will need to improve by one second per mile for 26.2 miles.
Vienna was selected after an extensive search by organizers and will take place on a multi-lap 9.6-kilometer course that is centered on The Prater. Kipchoge is set to run two 4.3-kilometer out-and-back stretches. The turning points will be located at each end of the avenue.
"I've been informed Vienna has a fast and flat course, nicely protected by trees," Kipchoge said in a statement. "The course is as well situated in the heart of this beautiful city which will enable a great number of spectators to be part of this historical event"
The course is also expected to be spectator-friendly with fans aligned alongside the historic park. The course in Monza was held on Formula 1 loop and included stretches of solitude without fans and just a pack of runners following a pace car.
Check out the course below:
Initially, organizers were hoping to host the event in London to try and honor Roger Bannister and the first sub-four-minute mile and because the attempt is backed by INEOS, which is a British chemicals company.
In the 2017 attempt, Nike set aside a few days in case of less-than-optimal weather conditions. The INEOS 1:59 Challenge is also following suit and is hoping to take place on Saturday, Oct. 12 but a window has been reserved until Oct. 20th.
Kipchoge is currently training for the attempt in Kenya. He won the London Marathon on April 28th in 2:02:37, which is the second-fastest time in history.