Nike's two-hour marathon attempt misses the mark by just 25 seconds

Solenn Plantier
Mai 19, 2017

Today, it is not uncommon for high schoolers to break four minutes in the mile and it is not even an automatic qualifier for the NCAA championships.

Eliud Kipchoge strolls into the press room, flashes a wink here and there, and looks as fresh as ever.

Kipchoge was one of three runners who set out to break the two-hour barrier. No man has taken 2:58 or more off the world record in one chunk since 1952, years before prize money, appearance fees and endorsement deals lured the globe's best runners to the marathon.

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. The IAAF told CNN it would not be able to judge whether Nike's attempt will count as an official time until it has taken place. Race organizers originally listed his time at two hours and 24 seconds but later corrected it.

"This journey has been good, it has been hard, it has been seven months hard preparation".

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge has run the quickest Marathon in history, just missing out on breaking the two-hour mark. Nike had pitched it as sport's "moon shot".

The sponsors are giving the runners every possible advantage, including pace setters and specially designed shoes - made by Nike, of course.

"There are always ideas of what is sportsmanlike, but the fact is we are interested on whether it's possible to run a marathon in less than two hours". The stream will start 15 minutes before the actual race begins.

Organised by the sportswear manufacturer, the attempt has been several years in the making.

The race used pace runners and a hydration strategy that disqualifies it for an official record, but the company refuted the suggestion that it's a marketing stunt created to showcase its new Zoom Vaporfly Elite more than the runners who wear the shoe.

Despite being one second over the target time after five kilometres, he was clocked at five seconds under after 10 then 15km and was still two seconds inside the target at the 25km mark.

But over the remaining third of the race, in slightly humid conditions, Kipchoge steadily began to fall behind pace.

When Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile in 1954, the World Record for the Marathon stood at 2:18:34.

"I've been part of many races over my career at Nike. It can happen. I will see it in my lifetime and I'm 67 so you can see that I'm very hopeful".

"I think pushing the boundaries of human performance is just fascinating for all of us, there's no question about that", he said. Jos Hermens, an agent representing Mr. Kipchoge, said in an interview last week that anything slower than the current world record "would be a failure".

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