INEOS 1:59 Challenge

The USA’s World and Olympic 5000m medallist Paul Chelimo plus Switzerland’s Julien Wanders – the European half-marathon record-holder – are among the latest star names to be added to Eliud Kipchoge’s pacemaking team for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.

Chelimo and Wanders will also be joined in Kipchoge’s pacemaking squad by Tesfahun Akalnew (ETH), Mande Bushendich (UGA), Shadrack Kipchirchir (USA), Philemon Kacheran (KEN), Noah Kipkemboi (KEN) and Vincent Kiprotich (KEN).

They will all be tasked with helping Kipchoge make history by becoming the first man to break the two-hour barrier for the marathon in Vienna in October.

Chelimo, who won a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics and a bronze medal at the World Championships a year later, will be flying to Vienna – the host city of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge – from this year’s World Championships in Doha.

He said: “I have been fortunate to win medals at both of the past two major championships and I will be hoping to continue that trend in Doha before heading to Vienna to help Eliud try to make history. If I am able to achieve both those goals it will be a truly memorable period in my career.”

Wanders, who spends much of his year living and training in Kenya, holds the European record for the half marathon (59:13) and 10km (27:25), and will also be racing in both the 5000m and 10000m at the World Championships in Doha.

He said: “As someone who spends a lot of time in Kenya, I know how important running is to the Kenyan people and how proud they will be if Eliud is able to become the first man to run sub-two hours for the marathon. It’s a great honour for me to have been asked to be part of this amazing project.”

Pacemaker bios:

Tesfahun Akalnew (ETH, age 20): Up-and-coming athlete from Ethiopia, he won the 10,000m at the track race in Nijmegen in 2019 (Next Generation Athletics) in 27.30.24.

Mande Bushendich (UGA, 22): Ugandan athlete who has a 10km personal best of 27:24 set in Madrid last New Year’s Eve. He has also set a new PB of 27:57:72 for 10,000m on the track this summer.

Paul Chelimo (USA, 28): The Kenyan-born American is a proven performer on the biggest stages. He won a silver medal in the 5000m at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and backed that up with a bronze medal over the same distance at the World Championships in London in 2017.

Philemon Kacheran (KEN, 28): Philemon Kacheran ran a marathon personal best of 2:07:12 to finish fourth at the Barcelona Marathon in March this year. He is one of the strongest training partners of Kipchoge.

Shadrack Kipchirchir (USA, 30):  Another Kenyan-born American who will be going to the World Championships in Doha in September to represent the USA. He is the current USA Cross-Country champion and was second in the USA Championships 10000m this year.

Noah Kipkemboi (KEN, 26): Kipkemboi has a half marathon personal best of 60:52. He is also an experienced pacemaker and was one of the pacers at this year’s Tokyo Marathon. He paced for Joshua Cheptegei at the seven hills race in 2018, when Cheptegei broke the 15km world record.

Vincent Kiprotich (KEN, 20): Won the Berlin 10km in 2018, in a time of 27.21 which was the fifth fastest of the year. This year he won the Wurzburg Residenzlauf in Germany in 27.35.

Julien Wanders (SUI, 23): Based in Kenya for much of the year, Wanders is the European record holder for both the half marathon (59:13) and 10km (27:25). He also holds the world 5km record (13:29) which he set in Monaco earlier this year.

The pacemakers are added to those already announced by the INEOS 1:59 Challenge including Norway’s Ingebrigtsen brothers – HenrikFilip and Jakob –  and the USA’s Bernard Lagat. For more information on other pacemakers already announced, click here.

There will be further announcements on more pacemakers involved in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in the coming weeks.

The INEOS 1:59 Challenge will take place in Vienna, Austria. The aim is for the event to take place on Saturday 12 October with a period from 13 to 20 October set aside as reserve days should weather conditions on the 12th not be favourable.