Our partner Nike has launched a project called “Breaking2” with the aim of achieving a marathon finish time of less than 2 hours. Many believe this to be impossible, as it would mean beating the world record of 2:02:57 by 3% - but this is actually the point that Nike is getting at: the impossible now is a chance to savour the sports of the future. In order to achieve this goal, Nike is working with a very diverse team from different fields within sports to form the perfect combination of athlete, products, training, nutrition and environment. With “Breaking2”, Nike aims not only to reach the 2 hour goal, but also to bring innovation and inspiration to athletes all over the world. In the course of this project, Nike will have to carry out extensive research with several experts from the fields of biomechanics, training, physiology and psychology, among others, in order to launch a range of innovative products that will help runners achieve their true potential.
For Breaking2, Nike has sought out three world class athletes with the best prerequisites and the will to give their all to beat the two-hour mark. Running just under 3 minutes faster than the world-record breaker is a great challenge for the best athletes, Every kilometre must be run at an average of 4 seconds faster. With this mission in mind, Nike has chosen the following runners:
Eliud Kipchoge, 32 years old, from Kapsisiywa, Kenya. The long-distance runner has already won medals in the Olympics and also in World Championships. Back in 2003 he set the junior world record for the 5000m run. In 2012, he set a half-marathon record of 59:25. After winning Bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and Silver in the 2012 Beijing Games (both over 5000m), he won Gold at the marathon race of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics last year. Later in 2016, he set a new track record of 2:03:05 during the London marathon, setting also a new personal best.
Zersenay Tadese, 34 years old, from Adi Bana, Eritrea. This runner was the first Eritrean ever to win an Olympic medal and earn a World Championship title. His Olympic medal was in 2004, in Athens, over 10,000m, while his World Championship title was awarded to him in 2006, over 20,000 m. He has represented his country four times in the Olympics already and he has won the Half-Marathon World Championship five times (2006-2009, 2012). He is the current record holder for this distance, with a time of 58:23.
Lelisa Desisa, 26 years old, from Shewa, Ethiopia. This athlete started running at a young age and was first noted in 2010, as he achieved a time of under 60 minutes in an international half-marathon. In 2013 he had his marathon debut in Dubai and achieved an impressive time of 2:04:45. That same year he took part in the prestigious Boston marathon and won, but gave his medal back to the city in honour of the attacks. In 2015 he won the same marathon again, and took second place in 2016.
With these three world class athletes and an extensive team of experts, Nike will attempt to break the magical barrier of two hours during a marathon. What do you think? Will one of the three manage it?