Kipchoge ready to run marathon under two hours in Italy

Posted May 19, 2017

Nike had three runners attempt the race, but Kipchoge was the only one with a real chance of breaking the 2-hour mark.

Because the current world record holder is Kenya's Dennis Kimetto who ran the marathon in two hours, two minutes and 57 seconds - which is pretty damn fast.

Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese will run for the record on the 1.49 mile (2.2 kilometer) asphalt loop at Autodromo Nazionale Monza outside Milan.

"With the calculations we have done, with the experiments we have done, and with today's Breaking2 experiment - which was probably the most useful of all the experiments - I am absolutely certain that we can get to under two hours, which most people thought would not be possible".

"We are human", Kipchoge, 32, said. A fleet of pacers, including some of Nike's most elite athletes, guided Kipchoge around the track, as did a pace vehicle. After a herculean effort, Kenyan distance runner Eliud Kipchoge crossed the finish line at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy with a finish time of 2:00:25.

Monza was chosen by the sportswear company for its gentle corners and favourable climatic conditions, while pacemakers were instructed to shield the trio from the wind and drinks were delivered to runners on scooters to save them from slowing down in collecting bottles. It will take more than that to set the new world record. "The aim of Breaking2 was to pass the message that running a less than two-hour marathon is possible".

But even with that blisteringly fast time in the books, the two-hour marathon attempt was vulnerable to a number of factors-environmental, psychological, gastrointestinal.

Kipchoge ran the race at a ideal 4:34 pace in the early stages, and ultimately faltered in the last five kilometers. Nike's rival Adidas is preparing runners to break the two-hour mark in natural race settings. In a nice touch, this enterprise was held on the 61st anniversary of Roger Bannisters breaking the 4-minute mile barrier.

Running a two-hour marathon is, of course, the equivalent of running 13 miles an hour, or running at a pace of 4:34 per mile. Tadese finished the race in 2:06.51 and Desisa in 2:14.10.

In addition to the training and diet advice, the team also designed a lightweight shoe - Zoom Vaporfly Elite - with its carbon fibre in-sole created to offer a marginal gain to the elite of the sport.

Added Quek, who coached marathoner Neo Jie Shi at last year's Olympic Games: "The time will improve, runners will continue to improve, but to jump so much in a short span of time is unlikely".

Nike, the American athletic apparel giant behind this endeavour, unveiled its bid to go under two hours in December a year ago.