Eliud Kipchoge makes history by running a marathon in under two hours

Eliud Kipchoge sprinted into history after becoming the first person to run a marathon in under two hours.

The 34-year-old Kenyan, helped by 41 pace-makers, produced a jaw-dropping run through a park in Vienna to break the 120-minute barrier, crossing the line in an extraordinary 1:59:40.

Huge crowds had lined the streets to cheer him on the final stretch as he pointed and smiled at fans.

But because he used a team of runners to help him, the run will not be recognised as a world record.

Eliud Kipchoge crosses the line to break the magical two-hour mark. Credit: AP

The rotating teams of pacemakers - which included past Olympic distance champions and other record holders - peeled off on the final stretch to allow the athlete cross the line and claim the glory.

The INEOS 1:59 Challenge was Kipchoge's second shot at the record after missing out by 25 seconds in his first attempt in Monza two years ago.

Kipchoge was even able to wave to the crowds as he sprinted towards the finish line, where his wife Grace greeted him.

In jubilant scenes Kipchoge was somehow able to keep running as he celebrated with the crowd before being hugged by his INEOS team-mates.

Afterwards he told the BBC: "I am feeling good. After Roger Bannister in 1954 it took another 63 years, I tried and I did not get it.

"After 65 years, I am the first man! I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited."

Guided by lasers on the road from a support car in front and surrounded by seven pacemakers at a time, the world record holder stuck to a pace of 2min 50sec per kilometre.

He hit the hour-mark with 11 seconds to spare and with 500m to go burst clear of his support team to finally break the hallowed two-hour barrier.

Kipchoge, the four-time London Marathon winner whose official world record time is 2:01.39, added: "Remember the 41 pacemakers are among the best athletes ever in the world.

Eliud Kipchoge (white shirt) became the first person run a marathon in under two hours. Credit: AP
Kipchoge assembled a crack team of pacemakers to help him. Credit: AP

"I can say thank you to them, I appreciate them for accepting and together we made history on this one.

"We can make this world a beautiful world and a peaceful world. My wife and three children, I am happy for them to come and witness history.

"The positively of sport, I want to make it a clean sport and an interesting sport."

The specially arranged time trial - the Ineos 1:59 Challenge - saw Kipchoge take to the Prater, a park in Vienna.

He ran a flat 5.97-mile loop with no gradient 4.4 times (a total of 26.2 miles to make history.