• “As I see it, the marathon has changed a lot because it is not like the olden times. We used to view sub two hours as something unattainable but now with the current crop of athletes available like Kiptum and Kipchoge we will be able to see a sub two hour marathon soon.”
• The signs of an athlete running a marathon in under two hours are already evident with an example of two time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and the current World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum.
Former world marathon record holder Patrick Makau believes the current generation of athletes in the country will soon run under two hours in the marathon.
Makau set the marathon world record of 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon, beating Ethiopian marathon legend Haile Gebrselassie during the memorable occasion.
Makau’s record stood for two years before it was broken by Wilson Kipsang at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.
The 38-year-old is also notable for his half marathon performances, having won several prominent competitions in Europe in sub-1-hour performances.
Some of the races include the Berlin Half Marathon in 2007, where he clocked 58:56 hours.
Marathons had changed a lot due to technology and were far better than the marathons they ran during his time.
“As I see it, the marathons have changed a lot because it is not like the olden times. We used to view sub-two hours as something unattainable but now with the current crop of athletes like the current world record holder Kevin Kiptum and two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, this looks like a possibility,” he noted.
The signs of an athlete running a marathon in under two hours are already evident if Kipchoge and Kiptum's recent performances are anything to go by.
In an unofficial race in Vienna, Austria in 2019, Kipchoge became the first person ever to run a marathon in under two hours, clocking 1:59.40 during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.
Regarded as one of the greatest marathoners of all time, Kipchoge was the world record holder in the marathon then with a time of 2:01:09 set at the 2022 Berlin. His mark was later broken by Kiptum at the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2023, when he clocked 2:00:35.
The 24-year-old Kiptum is currently the only person in history to run the marathon in under two hours and one minute in a record-eligible race.
Kiptum has won all three of the major marathons he has entered between December 2022 and October 2023 with three of his times among the six fastest in history. Makau revealed that hard work and endurance were the key for him to break the world record in 2011.
“I used to go to train in Iten and Machakos and to the polishing in Ngong. This is because speed work and build-up are two different programs,” Makau noted.
Makau encouraged athletes to find a training routine that would enable them to run a sub-two-hour marathon shortly.
“What Kiptum, Kipchoge and the other athletes can do now is to find the pace that will be able to help them run a sub-two-hour marathon shortly,” he added.
The duo currently occupy the top two positions in the world marathon ranking. Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele (2:01.41), Sisay Lemma (2:01.48 hrs), Birhanu Legese (2:02.48 hrs) and Mosinet Geremew (2:02.55 hrs) follow in that order.
The former world record holder, who currently trains the Kenya Police team and other athletes, also cited technology, especially in running shoes as a reason behind the fastest times being witnessed.
“During our time, there was not as much technology as we were accustomed to normal shoes. In today’s era, running shoe technology plays a key role in determining the pace in a particular race,” he said.
Innovations in Running Shoe Technology mean shoes are now lighter, more dynamic, and more resilient, thanks to advancements in foams, rubbers, construction, textiles, and other essential components.
Kipchoge's performances during the INEOS 1:59 challenge opened the world's eyes to the condensed foam, carbon-plated super shoes which Nike claimed could increase running efficiency and in particular the amount of oxygen consumed per minute by by 4 percent.
Makau is optimistic the young athletes under his wings will also go further and make not only him but also the country proud. He said he is looking forward to the national trials in April to see if they get selected.
“We have intensified training in both Machakos and Kitui camps and I am hopeful. I am waiting for the trials in April to see if they will be able to represent Kenya at the Paris 2020 Olympic Games,” he said.
He also tipped Kenya to once again dominate the marathon at the Olympic Games slated for July 26 to August 11.
“I am sure Kipchoge, Kiptum, Peres Jepchirchir and Ruth Chepng'etich will represent the country well in the marathon at the Olympics,” he asserted.