It was a terrific effort—but not quite terrific enough.
Early Saturday morning, three elite runners at a Formula One racetrack in Italy set off to attempt to run a marathon in less than 2 hours. One of them, Eliud Kipchoge, almost made it, finishing in 2:00:25—as RunnersWorld.com called it, "so close!"
Kipchoge is, by all accounts, a masterful road racer. He is the reigning Olympic marathon gold medalist whose previous best time was a 2:03:05. Still, he made some rookie mistakes during Saturday's effort that, taken together, cost him much more than 26 seconds.
Here are five of the most glaring.
1. Stopping for Autographs
The race had barely started when a spectator called out for an autograph. The ever-gracious Kipchoge jogged over to oblige the man. He signed hurriedly and soon rejoined the race. But still.
2. Celebrating Too Early
In uncharacteristic fashion, Kipchoge began showboating on the home stretch, believing he had a sub-2 sewn up. Here he is seen giving high fives to race photographers.
3. Pausing to Hug a Friend
Every runner knows that support from friends and family is crucial to success. But there's a time and place to express your gratitude, and the final few hundred meters of an important race isn't it!
4. Looking Around for a Trash Can After the Aid Station
After grabbing a bottle around the 10K mark, Kipchoge drained it and then slowed up as he wondered where to dispose of his trash. He finally found a recycling bin, but the episode cost him precious seconds.
5. Beating Himself Up Over Spending So Much Time at the Expo
Kipchoge is known for his unflappable attitude and his focus, but there were moments during his effort Saturday when something was clearly weighing on him. It's likely that he was regretting having spent so much time at the race expo Friday when he should have been back at his hotel resting.
Better luck next time, Mr. Kipchoge!