In order to run 26.2 miles in less than two hours, you would need to run 4:34 average pace. Nike announced their plan to try and do this recently. There is one other scientist trying to do the same.
Nike is working with three athletes, giving them all that they have to offer in terms of technology, training and help in every way. I am excited to follow along. I got the above infographic and information from this article from Runner’s world. Definitely give it a read!
I listened to someone in a podcast once explain that the sub-2 hour marathon is more than possible, we just have to break into first. Apparently, there was a feeling that no human could run faster than a 4 minute mile. But then, Roger Bannister did it, and suddenly others were doing it too. I loved the book The Perfect Mile, that detailed the journey of this coming about.
I certainly won’t be surprised if Nike makes the sub-2 hour marathon happen. I also won’t be surprised if someone unrelated to Nike does it. It is great fun to read about all the different technologies and data that you can learn from in the process.
That said, it feels like both are turning racing into a science experiment and taking away the realness of it. Perhaps once the 2 hour mark has been broken, it will only be a matter of time before it starts happening in real race situations.
Geoffrey Mutai ran a 2:03:02 at Boston & Dennis Kimetto a ran sub-2:03 in Berlin. People have already come so close.
I think even without science experiments, it would happen naturally. For the elites, the marathon isn’t about finishing, it is about WHO finishes first. So their times are dictated more by the race itself and not necessarily chasing a PR.
I see both sides of the coin – it is amazing what technology and a big company like Nike can do with resources. I also understand those who feel this is contrived and taking away the organic nature of racing. Either way, Nike doesn’t care about my opinion and it will be very interesting to follow along.
Do you think a sub-2 hour marathon is possible?
Do you like the idea of trying to make it happen? Or does it take away the realness of the race for you?