Kenya’s Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge left the country on Monday night to Vienna ahead of his attempt to become the first man to run the 42-kilometre distance in under two hours this weekend.

Goal spoke to a number of Kenyan Premier League stars who expressed their confidence Kipchoge will achieve his target.

Kipchoge, 34, is now in a class of his own in global distance running, having shattered the world marathon record last year, running the distance in two hours, one minute and 39 seconds in Berlin.

Just over a week ago, his Ethiopian nemesis, multiple world distance running record holder Kenenisa Bekele, 37, came within two seconds of his record by running 2:01:41 in the German city.

But on Saturday on the streets of Vienna, Austria, Kipchoge will be chasing another iconic target, with his attempt, dubbed “INEOS 1:59 Challenge”, drawing global interest as the day nears.

According to Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation, the challenge is bankrolled by British Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who runs chemical firm INEOS.

The Kenyan runner has been training in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet County and in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

“[Kipchoge] can break the record because I know his abilities and desire when he takes to the track,” Sofapaka player Ronald Okoth told Goal.

“If you look at his work ethics and discipline it tells you of a man who is dedicated and always hopeful of better things which includes breaking world records.

“He is also under able management and this is where a lot of work lies because he is sure of training with the right facilities and in the right environment.”

Gor Mahia speedy winger Boniface Omondi said: “His [Kipchoge] target of breaking the record is very much achievable. Look into the past and see who Kipchoge is and predict what he can do in future, place your bet on him breaking the record.

“He has surprised many before and the upcoming task is no big deal for him. It is always in the mind any time you set your mind right then nothing beats you as everything else becomes achievable.”

Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa was also full of praise for the athlete and admitted he will shatter the record in Vienna.

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“[Kipchoge] is an inspiration to the nation not only in the athletics world but also in the sports disciplines,” Mwendwa told Goal. “He is a hero and will definitely prove it again on Saturday in Vienna, I know he will make us proud.”

Gor Mahia CEO Omondi Aduda said: “I know [Kipchoge] very well, he will make us proud, he will definitely break the record. I will be watching the race from start to finish.”

The race is scheduled to begin at 8 am in Vienna and 9 am in Nairobi on October 12.


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