Although Nike is not spearheading the attempt as it did in Monza, Kipchoge, 34, will again wear their somewhat controversial carbon-insoled Vaporfly shoes that Nike says improve running economy by up to four per cent.
The shoes have been passed legal by the sport’s governing body the IAAF, though some critics say they give such an advantage that without them Kipchoge would be a “routine” 2.03/04 performer.
The shoes, pacemakers, apparel, wind-blocking paceclock car and rolling drinks stations helped take Kipchoge agonisingly close in Monza and he says the lessons learned then will make him even more likely to pull off a feat that would undoubtedly rank at the very top of human sporting achievement.
Most importantly, Kipchoge said, has been a change in mentality as, having come so close there and subsequently massively improved his best legal time, he now fully believes he is capable of maintaining the necessary pace.
Ratcliffe, 66 and a keen runner for decades, said that the missing link could be a crowd to watch and encourage, after the Monza attempt took place in front of a handful of media, sponsors and associates.
“If Eliud has got a fantastic crowd cheering him on, it’s going to make a bit of difference and we don’t need to make a lot of difference to make up 26 seconds,” he said.
“I was in the pace car in front of Eliud for the London Marathon and he was looking very serene and comfortable. He’s still getting better.”
Ratcliffe has taken over ownership of cycling’s former Team Sky, funded Ben Ainslie’s 2021 America’s Cup sailing challenge and owns Swiss soccer club Lausanne Sport.
“It’s good fun. We make billions in profits so what’s wrong with investing a bit of that in sport, in good challenges, good people?,” he said. “Eliud is the finest marathon runner there has ever been and I think it will be very inspirational, to get kids putting running shoes on.
“It would be an extraordinary achievement. It’s almost super-human, isn’t it really? To break two hours in a marathon is quite unthinkable.”
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, additional reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)