Eliud Kipchoge and his technical staff are expected to land in Vienna Tuesday morning in five-star fashion.
The Olympic marathon champion and world record holder was Monday night treated to the affluence that one of Great Britain’s richest persons, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is accustomed to.
The efficient Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) staff at the Eldoret International Airport last night made meticulous arrangements to receive and see off Sir Jim’s Gulfstream G280, which was flown by two pilots from his British base to fly Kipchoge to the Austrian capital.
It is in Vienna where Kipchoge, 34, is scheduled to attempt to run the marathon in under two hours, with the “INEOS 1:59 Challenge” bankrolled by Sir Jim, owner of chemical firm INEOS.
A quick check reveals that the Gulfstream, registration number M-INTY was registered in Britain on March 4, 2016, and its last sightings have been on the British isles, the abode of Sir Ratcliffe, a running enthusiast.
The jet is valued at $24.5 million (Sh2.4 billion) and was expected to make a fuelling stop at Luxor, Egypt, before proceeding to Vienna.
The first window for Kipchoge to run has now been narrowed to October 12 to 14, with a target date being Saturday, October 12.
“The conditions are, for now, looking to be within an acceptable range for the first weekend of the window,” organisers said in a statement on Monday.
“The call made to fly Kipchoge from Kenya to Vienna was the first stage of a pre-agreed decision process by the INEOS 1:59 Performance team to select the best date for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge,” the organisers added.
“The next pivotal date is Wednesday, October 9, three days out from the targeted Challenge date. The Performance team will then decide if the date for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge will either be confirmed as the October 12 or delayed.
“If the green light is given the three-day countdown begins and Kipchoge will switch his nutrition and begin carb-loading. Kipchoge and his team can then make their final preparations and the world can start getting ready to watch the INEOS 1:59 Challenge live.
“Once the date is set, the exact start time for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge will be confirmed the day before. The start time will be between 5am – 9am local time (6am – 10am, Kenyan time).
“The decision for the optimal start time will take into account various factors including weather, nutrition and Kipchoge’s circadian rhythm,” INEOS added.