Vienna chosen above London for Kipchoge's marathon challenge
The Austrian capital of Vienna will host the attempt by Eliud Kipchoge, the Olympic champion and fastest marathon runner of all time, to complete the event in under two hours, a feat that has never been achieved before in athletics.
After an “extensive worldwide assessment process," the Prater, a large public park in the Austrian capital, has been chosen as the setting as it will provide him with “optimum conditions," according to the organisers.
The event, backed by UK petrochemicals company Ineos, is due to take place between 12 and 20 October, with the exact date to be determined by weather conditions.
It was reported in the UK media last month that Battersea Park in London was the potential host of the world record attempt, but the city was ultimately overlooked because of concerns over the weather.
Jos Hermens, Kipchoge’s manager, said: “There was a chance it would be in London but 85 per cent in Vienna. We could not afford to take chances as postponements will affect his preparation.”
The marathon will be held on a multi-lap, 9.6 kilometre course centred on Hauptallee, the long, straight and tree-lined avenue which runs through the the Prater.
The 34-year-old Kenyan already holds the world record marathon time of 2:01:39, although at an unofficial event two years ago in Monza, Italy, he did record a time of 2:00:25.
Jim Ratcliffe, Britian’s richest man and owner of track cycling’s newly-rebranded Team Ineos, recently announced he will financially support Kipchoge’s record attempt, which will be known as the Ineos 1:59 Challenge.
He said: “We have a responsibility to ensure he is given the best chance. After an extensive search of venues fitting Eliud’s criteria, we are delighted to be working with Vienna, and hope to see history made in October.”