One of the most impressive events I’ve ever had the pleasure of working at and one of my personal magic moments was the INEOS 1:59 Challenge last October in Vienna. As the announcer, I was right there when Eliud Kipchoge broke the almost insurmountable 2-hour marathon barrier at 10:14 a.m. and made sporting history.
120,000 people witnessed this epochal event, which began at 8:15 a.m. on the Vienna Reichsbrücke before the race shifted to the Vienna Prater, where the course led the runners around the Lusthaus and the Praterstern. In brilliant weather with the best running conditions, the 2.7-mile-long and completely straight Prater Hauptallee was a true running paradise.
The elite of the running world had come to Vienna to run alongside Eliud Kipchoge and witness him make the impossible possible: Eliud would be the first man to break the two-hour mark in a marathon. News of the event spread around the world, as this limit was considered insurmountable and beyond the possibilities of the human body.
In retrospect, the INEOS 1:59 Challenge was an event similar to the landing of the first man on the moon for sports fans, and also for me. Even today I still get goosebumps when I think of the moment when I, together with my colleagues Michelle Sammet and Lukas Schweighofer, loudly accompanied Eliud Kipchoge to the finish-line.
The motto of the event was very clear: “No human is limited”. The only limits we have are in our heads. For me it was a very special day that changed the world of sports forever… and will remain forever in my memory.
Did you see the INEOS 1:59 Challenge yourself? Were you also there in the Wiener Prater? What goes through your mind when you think that a person can run a marathon in less than 2 hours?