Eliud Kipchoge runs quickest marathon in just over two hours

Is sub-two hour marathon attempt a celebration of human endeavour or a marketing ploy

MONZA, Italy May 6 Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge was on pace to run the first marathon in under two hours on Saturday, part of an unofficial effort at a Formula 1 track in Italy sponsored by sportswear group Nike to break through one of the greatest barriers in sport.

Dennis Kimetto set the world record of 2:02:57 at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. Titled "Just Do It Day" Nike is inviting customers to run a sub-25 min 5k using the Nike Running app on Sunday 14 May to unlock early access to the new Nike Zoom Fly sneaker.

"People have been thinking about the magical sub-two-hour marathon for a long time", said Wouter Hoogkamer, lead researcher of a study recently published by the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Two University of OR researchers told news wire Reuters they think humans can run 26.2 miles in less than two hours.

"Our calculations show that a sub-two-hour marathon time could happen right now, but it would require the right course and a lot of organisation", Hoogkamer said in the study published by the journal Sports Medicine. The world record has been shaved seven times since 2000 by a grand total of 2 minutes and 50 seconds.

Kipchoge, Desisa and Tadese were selected by Nike after an exhaustive analysis of their physical make-up and technique.

Regardless, pursuing the so-called "impossible" is part of Nike's DNA, it's co-founder and renowned track coach Bill Bowerman helped his track athlete Jim Bailey run the first sub-four-minute mile on U.S. soil in 1956, a feat which was then regarded as the holy grail of running. "History knows it, science knows it, anyone in their right mind knows it, it's insane, nobody can run that fast for that long, so we're doing it".

You can livestream the event on Runner's World here. The project has been over two-years in the making with a depth of research, testing and preparation comparable to that of a stunt like RedBull's Space Jump.

For the test event, the runners wore skin censors and swallowed a core body temp sensor to provide data. Handing the drink to the runners, along with swapping out pacers, breaks the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rules for an official marathon, so today's times will not be eligible for a record.

Nike is unfazed by this.

Tadese, meanwhile, completed the marathon more than six minutes after Kipchoge crossed the finish line.

"People thought it was cheapening to have two other guys helping Bannister, but we don't remember that", Caesar told The Wall Street Journal.

So, will we see another "impossible" running mark eclipsed this weekend?



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