Sunday, May 7, 2017

Did Nike's sneakers lead to the fastest marathon ever?


26 seconds...that's how close Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya came to sub 2 hour marathon. Instead he finished in 2:00:25, just over a second too slow per mile.

But first...thank you for your support. Through the Sole had a record breaking April, over 8,200 pageviews!

Now back to the sub 2 hour marathon. In March, I wrote about Nike's attempt to break the 2 hour mark in the marathon, including with specially designed sneakers.

Nike decided the conditions were right and had the 3 selected runners try this weekend at the Formula One track in Monza in Italy, selected for having low wind, good oxygen, and being relatively flat with modest turns, according to Runner's World.

At 5:45am on Saturday, the 3 selected runners, Kipchoge, Eritrean Zersenay Tadese, and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa set off in hat was deemed to be perfect weather. They had pacers in front of them in an arrow formation to block wind, according to Runner's World.

In the end, Kipchoge ran must faster than his previous record, 2:03:05 in the London Marathon. Tadese is the record holder in the half marathon and Desisa won the Boston Marathon twice, according to FiveThrityEight.

Tadese finished in 2:06:51 and Desisa in 2:14:10. The event was three years in the making and used science to try to engineer the sub 2 feat.



The current world record for a marathon is Kenyan Dennis Kimetto 2:02:57 at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. This attempt did not change that, according to Runner's World, because of practices involving pacers that are not allowed by the running governing body.

In addition to the specially designed sneakers that were customized for each runner, they also wore clothing that was designed to be aerodynamic.

It's hard to say how much came down to the sneakers and how much to other factors, but those are some fast times.





What do you think of the attempt?

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