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JOY AROUND THE WORLD
Eliud Kipchoge grew up in eastern Kenya and every morning, he’d run to school. Wouldn’t it have been cool if he had a stopwatch, a log of how quickly he could make the trip, trying to beat the bell? How old must he have been when he first broke the 10-minute mark? Did he even break a sweat?
Last Saturday, all of Kenya—with the rest of the world—watched Kipchoge run, and this time, there was a stopwatch. We kept looking back and forth, back and forth, seeing if he would actually make it. In a special event in Vienna, Kipchoge, the greatest marathoner in the world, was trying to run 26.2 miles in under two hours. One hour, 59 minutes, and 40 seconds after he started off, he crossed the finish line. In his hometown of Eldoret, crowds had gathered to watch a broadcast of the feat. It looked like they were watching the World Cup. When he finished, there was elation.
It was a landmark achievement, one that Kipchoge and race organizers compared to man walking on the Moon. The Atlantic wrote of the limitations of that comparison, “Running’s original moon landing, the sub-four-minute mile, took place back in 1954. Yesterday, Kipchoge launched running to Mars.”
Almost immediately after the cheers faded, though, skeptics started crowing. The run would not count as a world record, because it wasn’t an official marathon. Kipchoge ran on […]