It won’t be an official world record, but so what? Three
African runners could still run their way into history this
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay
Tadese of Eritrea are all top marathoners. Indeed, Kipchoge won
last year’s Rio Olympic marathon.
This weekend, they’ll all try to run a marathon in less than
two hours. Yes, 42.195 kilometres in under two hours. Which is
pretty close to unthinkable, as the world record (not held by
any of these three runners) is 2:02:57.
So how are they going to do it?
AFP/Getty Images Kipchoge
wins in Rio. He’ll have to go eight minutes quicker this
How will they shave more than three minutes off the world
record? Ah, well that’s all down to a little help from Nike,
which came up with the concept called Breaking2. Basically, Nike is doing whatever it
can to make life easier for the runners, including:
FANCY NIKE SHOES, called the Zoom Vaporfly
Elite, which have a special shape which helps change the
angle of the foot, meaning runners expel less energy.
SPECIAL CLOTHES which will have aerodynamic
and ventilation advantages.
A SPECIAL COURSE, which will be roughly 17
laps of a 2.4km loop on the Monza F1 track in northern Italy.
It’s pretty much dead flat.
PACE-SETTERS, who will drop out every two
laps (to be replaced by others) which will allow runners to
make sure they keep up with record-breaking pace.
DRINKS SERVED MORE FREQUENTLY THAN USUAL,
and served from a moped, so runners don’t have to slow down
at drink stations.
All of which explains why any records they set will not stand
as official records. All the same, it’ll be pretty cool.
“It won’t be an official record [if it happens], but it would
such a fantastic achievement for what it is,” former Olympic
marathon runner Steve Moneghetti told The HuffPost Australia.
“Monners”, as he’s known, won the Berlin marathon back in 1990
in a time of 2:08:16 which at the time was just 86 seconds
outside the world record. It would be another decade before the
world mark inched lower by a few seconds.
With that in mind, we asked Monners if it was a little, you
know, sneaky or something to set up a record to be broken by
Forget it. He loves the idea.
Scott Barbour via Getty
Images For Monners, it’s not a black and white issue of
records versus non-records.
“It’s phenomenal thinking,” the 54-year-old champ said. “It
won’t be an official record, but it’s such a fantastic
achievement for what it is.
“And then you have to say, how now is this technology and race
structure going to affect the way marathon runners run and the
way races are set up in the future? What can we cross over into
“It’s a bit like Formula One races where you ask what benefits
the technology can bring to normal cars.
“There’s also the mental side. Obviously two hours is this
magical barrier, and mentally once someone does it, everyone
knows it’s possible, so it raises people’s sights.”
And below is the Facebook live stream, which will start over
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