Saturday, May 6, 2017

UNBELIEVABLE: Eliud Kipchoge Unofficially Smashes Marathon World Record, Narrowly Missing 2-Hour Barrier, as Part of Nike Breaking2 Project

Eliud Kipchoge relaxes after crossing the finish line

A few minutes ago, 2016 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, unofficially smashed the marathon world record at a Nike "Breaking2" run on the Formula One race track in Monza, Italy.

Two other runners, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, also competed in and finished the run, though falling many minutes short of Kipchoge's time.

Kipchoge ran 2:00:25, 2 minutes and 32 seconds faster than the official marathon record of 2:02:57, lowering the fastest marathon time by more than 2%.

Percentage-wise, it's the greatest leap in marathon times since Sergei Popov ran a 2:15:17 in 1952, bettering the previous mark of 2:18:04.

However, the time will not count as an "official" world record, as, among other things, it featured a rotating group of pacers, jumping in and out, in "arrowhead" formation in front of the three runners.

Most world-class marathons now feature pacers, but they must start with the other runners.

Nevertheless, Kipchoge's effort was an amazing performance that shocked many observers.

The aim of the Nike Breaking2 project was to apply state-of-the-art scientific analysis to train a small group of elite runners to try to break the 2:00:00 marathon barrier. Among other things, a revolutionary new type of shoe was designed. While the "goal" was to run a sub two-hour marathon, I suspect that very few believed that could actually be achieved or achieved now. Kipchoge came close, staying on two-hour pace for more than half of the race.

While many (including me) were skeptical of the effort at first, Kipchoge's incredible time indicates that it's very possible if not probable that Kipchoge or another runner will soon break the world record in an official race. And the two-hour mark, formally thought of as an almost mythically unachievable mark, now actually seems within reach.

In an interview after the race, Kipchoge was asked how it felt to have put himself only twenty-five seconds away from a sub-two-hour marathon, the 32-year-old Olympic champion graciously turned the question around and said that the world was now only twenty-five seconds away.

1 comment:

  1. Cosmic in magnitude. The ongoing wonder of God's creation.