How Will Nike Help Break a Record?
The fastest time for a marathon sits at 2:02:57. It was run by Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014. He beat out the previous record, made the year before at the same marathon by Wilson Kipsang, by 26 seconds. Remarkably, Kimetto paced out at 13 miles per hour. The average walking speed for a human is 3 miles per hour and the world's fastest sprinter, Usain Bolt, clocks in at 28 miles per hour.
If you want to get an idea of what 13 miles per hour looks like, check this out.
Now, imagine running at that pace for over 2 hours. It's impressive what the human body can accomplish.
Since Kimetto's record-setting time, a few marathoners have come close to the same time. Just this year, Kenenisa Bekele ran the Berlin Marathon in 2:03:03, a mere 6 seconds behind Kimetto. As the 2 hour, 3 minute marathon becomes the average, Nike is now interested in whether humans could run a marathon in under 2 hours. It's an ambitious plan, but the company is investing a lot of time, capital and research into the project.
Three of the world's best distance runners have signed onto the project, foregoing major marathons in the spring to train. These runners include reigning Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea.
Nike has been planning to break the record for a few years. The company has developed the first marathon-specific 'footwear solution' in 2013 and has even put together a team of experts to “unpack performance at the molecular level.”
This entire project is called Breaking2 and it was released to the press on Monday. It hopes to achieve its sub 2-hour goal as early as next year, but the date and location of the attempt has not been released. The company describes the project as, "an innovation moonshot designed to unlock human potential."
Many skeptics are saying that it's impossible, but if the sneaker giant truly believes in its capabilities, it will just do it.