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Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin - 2015 (cropped).jpg
Eliud Kipchoge
20090817 Zersenay Tadese.jpg
Zersenay Tadese
Lelisa Desisa Benti boston marathon 2013.jpg
Lelisa Desisa

Breaking2 was a project by Nike to break the two-hour barrier for the marathon. Nike announced the project in December 2016 and organized a team of three elite runners who trained for a private race. The event was held on the Formula One Autodromo Nazionale Monza race track in Italy on May 6, 2017.[1][2][3][4] Ultimately, the project came up short, with Eliud Kipchoge winning the race in 2:00:25.[5]

Contents

Team membersEdit

Nike chose three runners to make the attempt:[4][6]

Name Nationality Birth date Age Previous best marathon
Lelisa Desisa   Ethiopia 14 January 1990 27 2:04:45
Eliud Kipchoge   Kenya 5 November 1984 32 2:03:05
Zersenay Tadese   Eritrea 8 February 1982 35 2:10:41

At the time, Kipchoge was the defending Olympic champion, having won the marathon at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and Zersenay holds the half marathon WR (58:23, set in 2010).

Nike also brought in 30 of the world's best runners to serve as pacers for the race, including Andrew Bumbalough, Sam Chelanga, Chris Derrick, Bernard Lagat, and Lopez Lomong.[6][7]

PreparationsEdit

Nike developed a new running shoe called the "Vapor Fly Elite" for the attempt.[8] The Monza automobile racetrack was chosen for a combination of its low altitude, calm weather conditions, and short lap length. In addition to the pacemaker vehicle, runners acting as pacemakers were positioned to shield the key athletes in an attempt to reduce wind resistance.[9]

RaceEdit

The race began at 5:45 am on Saturday, May 6, 2017, with a temperature of 54°F (12°C) and some light rain.

To break the two-hour barrier, a pace of 4:34.5 per mile (2:50 min/km) was required. In order to achieve this, the racers followed behind a team of six pacers in a triangle formation who were themselves following a pace vehicle displaying a large clock of the race time and projecting green lasers onto the ground to indicate where the lead pacer should be at all times. The pacers only ran two laps (4.8 km) at a time and had 30 minute breaks in between shifts. Groups of pacers would cycle on and off in threes.[7]

The runners started off on pace, but Desisa fell off the pace about 16km in, and Tadese followed around 20km. Kipchoge remained on pace through 25km (at 1:11:03) and was only one second off pace at 30km. Kipchoge finished the race in 2:00:25 and said he had given 100 percent effort.[6]

ResultsEdit

Position Athlete Nationality Time
  Eliud Kipchoge   Kenya 2:00:25
  Zersenay Tadese   Eritrea 2:06:51
  Lelisa Desisa   Ethiopia 2:14:10

At the time of the race, the world record of the marathon was 2:02:57 (set by Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon). Even though Kipchoge beat this time by more than two minutes, his result does not count as an official record by IAAF standards because of several factors, including the use of pacers who entered the race midway.[10]

DocumentaryEdit

Shortly after the race, Nike announced that they had partnered with National Geographic to produce a feature-length documentary, which was to be released at the end of the summer.[11]. The documentary was published on National Geographic's YouTube channel on September 21, 2017.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ed Caesar (12 December 2016). "Inside Nike's Quest for the Impossible: a Two-Hour Marathon". Wired. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  2. ^ Alex Hutchinson (12 December 2016). "Nike's Audacious Plan: Break the 2-Hour Marathon Barrier in 2017". Runner's World. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  3. ^ Ross Tucker, Ph.D. (12 December 2016). "The sub-2 hour marathon in 2017? Thoughts on concept". The Science of Sport. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Interactive: A look at how three marathoners could break the sub-2hr barrier on May 6". The Straits Times. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  5. ^ Jon Mulkeen (6 May 2017). "Kipchoge a 'happy man' in Monza". IAAF. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Nolan, Ali (6 May 2017). "So Close! Kipchoge Runs a 2:00:25 in the Breaking2 Attempt". Runner's World. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Strout, Erin (9 May 2017). "What It Was Like to Pace the Fastest Marathon in History". Runner's World. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Nike Zoom VaporFly Elite: the shoe of Breaking2 you can't buy". www.runningshoesguru.com. Retrieved 2017-11-29. 
  9. ^ Matt Burgess, 10 May 2017 "If you missed Nike's two-hour marathon attempt you can relive it here" wired.co.uk
  10. ^ Buzacott-Speer, Eliza (6 May 2017). "Eliud Kipchoge falls 26 seconds short of first sub two-hour marathon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Nike News (6 May 2017). "Nike Celebrates its Breaking2 Results". Nike. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 

External linksEdit