Friday, 28 April 2017

May 6th

May 6th is already a date synonymous with the world of athletics, as on that day in 1954, Roger Bannister was the first person to break the 4 minute mile barrier.

But could May 6th 2017 also become such a significant milestone day with the breaking of the 2 hour barrier for the marathon?

If it happens, it will not be recognised as a world record as the use of pacemakers who will step in and out when required and the staging of the event on the Monza Formula One track in Italy, rather than as a race, do not meet IAAF rules.

But, the Nike project Breaking 2 athletes Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa and Zerenay Tadese could prove that a sub 2 hour marathon is indeed possible.  To do this they will have to run an average pace of 4.34 per mile. 7 seconds a mile faster than Dennis Kimetto did when he set the current world record of 2hrs 2 minutes 57 seconds. 

Another area were IAAF rules may not be met are the Vaporfly Elite shoes that have been developed by Nike as part of the project.  Seemingly a special carbon fibre plate in the soles make the runner 4% more efficient than when wearing Nikes previous fastest marathon shoe.

IAAF rules state that shoes must not offer "any unfair additional assistance, including by the incorporation of any technology which will give the wearer any unfair advantage"

Although interestingly, I read somewhere, after this years London Marathon that Kenenisa Bekele attributed his problems mid race, when he dropped off the pace, to the foot positioning produced by his wearing a pair of the Vapourfly Elite and the resulting blistering of his feet. 

Whatever your views are on whether such projects are  the correct way to attack the 2 hour barrier or whether it should be left to natural progression.  It will be interesting to see if a sub 2 hour marathon will be achieved next weekend.

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