On October 12, 2019 a massive world record did not just get beat but got crushed!

Eliud Kipchoge is now the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours.

Eliud Kipchoge (photo: wiki)

He actually did it in 20 seconds under the 2-hour mark.

He ran in a time of 1:59:40 in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria.

While you may not be an endurance athlete, this is a historical moment in the history of human performance.

Imagine running a single mile in 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

Supersonic fast.

Now do that 26 times and back to back.

While a monster performance like this is an n=1, it does leaves some clues.

How the Two-Hour Marathon Limit Was Broken | WIRED

One of them is in the area of fueling that record setting speed.

What did he drink and use during this world record setting race?

Maybe it was some super squirrel secret rocket fuel that is under 17 proprietary patents?

Running on Empty?

Was it a new space-age ketone ester that only he had access to?

Was he in a ketosis and that enabled his WR setting performance? Ketone Karl on the interwebZ told me that ketones are magical fuel collected from the farts of Patrick Arnold who defected to a top-secret lab in Uzbekistan.

All false.

You know what was the “secret” fuel?


Yep. Carbs.

No esoteric ketones were used (to my knowledge).

While the exact mixture is unknown at the time of this writing, based on his performance in a previous race in Berlin and the Nike Breaking 2, he used a mixture of a carbohydrate (GEL 100) and carbs in solution with electrolytes.

The GEL 100 according to their website is

“…. a biopolymer matrix, filled with a unique blend of fructose and glucose (ratio of 0.8:1) which enables uptakes of up to 100 grams of carbohydrates per hour.”

Yep, in the past he took in 100 gram per hour. The highest amount I’ve seen with positive results in research was 90 grams per hour (1).
But don’t just take my word for it, here is what super nerd and elite nutrition consultant Dr. Trent Stellingwerff said in an article from Running Magazine:

“The greater the carbohydrate oxidation during exercise (e.g. marathon running), the more efficient the energy production. The best way to maximize carbohydrate oxidation is to show up well fueled at the start line, as well as continue carbohydrate intake during the event – which is exactly what Kipchoge appeared to do.  At his level, when compared to fueling with water alone, most might estimate a one to three percent improvement in performance with his fueling program.”

I see no mention of ketones or a ketogenic diet anywhere.

While ketones as a fuel and a supplement are super interesting, if you want flat out top end performance, there are very very little data to show they are the best (2-13).

We have lots of data to show that carbs are superior once again for elite performance where speed and power are critical (14-26). You can even go all they way back to 1887 (not a typo) and even earlier for more data (27).

Don’t even get me started about using fat as a fuel for high intensity performance.

It is a bioenergetic fact that fats can NOT compete with carbs for the RATE of energy production and long-term high fat diets turn down the rate of glycolysis via changes in PDH (28-32).

Massive hats off to Kipchoge and his team for an incredible performance.

And pass the carbZ.
Dr Mike

Nerd Fuel (aka References)
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