On Saturday 12th October 2019, Olympic champion and world-record holder, Eliud Kipchoge completed his unbelievable sub two-hour marathon run in Vienna.
An estimated 500 million viewers tuned in to watch the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, where the athlete broke the two-hour marathon barrier by crossing the finish line in an incredible 1:59:40. Although the primed conditions and pacemaker support meant that the time was not logged as an official World Record, it was an incredible feat of human endeavour and endurance. ER Productions were exceptionally proud to have played a role in this landmark moment, designing the formation of and providing the 2x Phaenon X30 lasers that guided Kipchoge’s seven pacemakers as they flanked him in an inverted V-formation.
The brief was relatively simple, however the planning and execution required ER’s strategic expertise. The lasers were needed to project onto the ground in a formation pattern for the pace runners to follow. ER Project Manager Nicola Freer clarifies, ‘Essentially, what the organisers wanted to avoid was the pace runners running in wobbly lines along the track, therefore loosing valuable seconds.’ During his first attempt to break the barrier, during the Nike project Breaking2, Kipchoge ran the marathon in 2:00:25, so they really were looking at mere seconds between success and falling short.
ER Productions had to come up with an innovative shape that would keep the runners in line more effectively than the last time. Five runners at the front each had their own individual ‘track’ line, which were the vertical lines running from the back of the car towards the runners. Two horizontal pace lines were then added. One of these would fall just in front of the lead runner, and the second slightly further back towards the car, so that everyone in the pack was able to see clearly, without having to look down instead of up ahead.