May 6, 2017 / 5:13 AM / 4 months ago

Athletics-Kipchoge on pace for sub-two hour marathon

MONZA, Italy, May 6 (Reuters) - Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge was on pace to run the first marathon in under two hours on Saturday, part of an unofficial effort at a Formula 1 track in Italy sponsored by sportswear group Nike to break through one of the greatest barriers in sport.

The 32-year-old Olympic champion broke away from the only other competitors, Eritrean Zersenay Tadese and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, near the halfway mark and was running at pace that would see him finish a few seconds inside two hours.

He was running behind an arrow-head of six pacemakers, to reduce drag, and a pace car beaming a green line on the surface of the Monza track behind it to show the speed needed to break the barrier.

The world record is 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds, set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014, and it will stand no matter the time Kipchoge achieves on Saturday, largely because of the pace-setting arrangement. (Reporting by Mark Bendeich, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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