Sub 2 Hour Marathon is the most formidable barrier in recent running history. Nobody has come close to that; the current world record is 2:02:57, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in 2014.
Extrapolation of World Record in Marathon (Credit – Runners World)
Nike is embarking on a plan to break one of running’s most formidable barriers—the 2-hour marathon. Three top distance runners—Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea—have officially started their Nike-backed build-up toward a sub-two-hour attempt.
“The sub-two-hour marathon is one of those epic barriers that people bust through. It’s like breaking 10 seconds for the 100 meters or 4 minutes for the mile. At the end of the day, we just want to show it can be done. We want to show that it’s within the capability of human physiology” said Nike’s VP of Footwear Innovation, Tony Bignell.
Apart from focussing on big factors – athlete selection, training, nutrition and equipment (shoes and apparels), Nike is focusing a lot on course and environment. Details of the race- temperature, hills, turns, drafting, and pacing can be optimized to make a big difference. Here are some points they will look at:
- According to research, a race-day temp of 43.2°F produced the quickest times overall. But faster runners, who generate more heat, benefited from cooler temps, with the top one percent peaking at 38.9°F
- There is elevation bias in timing and flat ultra-flat course will boost the timing
- To attack the two-hour mark, top runners will need to work together, drafting off each other, almost to the finish.
Just getting the drafting right could shave 100 seconds off an elite marathon time, according to estimates. Nike has the resources to create circumstances that are as conducive as possible to success.
Whatever be the outcome, this attempt is going to be inspiring.
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