6 May 2017

Chasing the first sub-2 hour marathon

From This Way Up, 12:15 pm on 6 May 2017
Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, have been chosen to  run a sub-2-hour marathon as part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project.

Photo: Courtesy of Nike

Salzburg, Hanmer, Rotorua, and Prague... all places where you can go and run a marathon this weekend if you fancy it.

Meanwhile in Italy, three of the world's top distance runners will be racing around the Formula One track at Monza in an attempt to run the first sub-2 hour marathon.

The whole endeavour is being bankrolled by a huge global sportswear brand in an effort to sell more running shoes. Nothing has been left to chance, no detail has been overlooked. 

How often the athletes should drink, what the weather will be, the best formation to run in to reduce drag – check, check, and check.

Everything will be monitored in real time by internal sensors the runners have swallowed and wearable chips that track their performance, their temperature, and how well their bodies are responding under this incredible stress.

So can the 2-hour mark really be broken?  And what can this tell us about the limits of human performance, shoe design, and even how tight your running shorts should be?

Alex Hutchinson of Runner's World is a former international runner who has visited Monza and even raced behind the pace-setting car for this marathon record attempt, which is called Breaking 2.

Alex Hutchison leading the press pack at Monza, Italy

Alex Hutchison leading the press pack at Monza, Italy Photo: (Chris Lawrence)