Nike-endorsed elite runner Eliud Kipchoge has run the world's fastest marathon time but missed finishing under the two-hour mark by only 26 seconds-a gap of just one second per mile for the distance of the race.
Kipchoge - along with two-time Boston Marathon victor Lelisa Desisa, from Ethiopia, and Eritrean half-marathon world-record holder Zersenay Tadese - was taking part in the "Breaking2" project, a sportswear company Nike-backed attempt to crack the sub-two hour marathon.
The time will not be an official world record, sanctioned by the IAAF, due to variables like pacers entering mid-race and drinks being given to runners via mopeds.
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese and Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa would have to muster a lifetime best effort - and more - in order to go faster than any man ever has over 42.195km (or 26.2 miles). "The aim of "Breaking2" was to pass the message that running less than two-hour marathon is possible".
In the Autodromo Nationale Monza, a 2.4-kilometer Formula 1 racing track, a triangle formation of six pacers strived to keep Desisa, Kipchoge, and Tadese on a 4:33-per-mile pace for the 17.5 laps. Kimetto's World Record remains intact though. Kipchoge is the reigning Olympic marathon champion, Tadese is the half-marathon world record holder and Desisa is a two-time Boston Marathon champion.
The Breaking2 project comes from sportswear company Nike.
Perte annuelle de 6,1 milliards d'euros — Vodafone
Vodafone continue de payer au prix fort les chambardements à l'œuvre en Inde. Il entend également dégager des flux de trésorerie de 5 milliards d'euros.
Ed Caesar, author of the 2015 book "Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon", notes that Roger Bannister's iconic breaching of the four-minute-mile barrier in 1954 was frowned upon in certain quarters because of the Briton's use of pace runners.
"What it will mean to a running population is that it would be a big mental barrier where people can understand yes, we can do this", Brad Wilkins, the director of NXT Generation Research in the Nike Sport Research Lab, told CNN. Having now been splashed all over the world's media, these futuristic trainers will soon go on sale to casual runners around the world backed by acres of earned media coverage.
"I want to see it done under the circumstances marathoners usually run in without any ergogenic aids", he said. The runners were lead by a Tesla that laser-projected a green line in front of them to indicate the ideal speed.
Scientists and runners have long questioned whether a 2-hour marathon is possible - even in near-perfect conditions, which Nike will attempt to create.
This story has been corrected to show that Kipchoge's time was 2 hours, 25 seconds, after a change by organizers. "This achievement represents more than a race", Parker said. "It's not one and done, it just may take a different form next time", he said.
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