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Aiming for a sub 2 hour marathon: Nike unveils Breaking2

Nike Breaking2 runners

Nike has unveiled Breaking2, which is billed as an ‘innovation moonshot designed to unlock human potential’. Breaking2 has an audacious goal: enable a sub two-hour marathon time.

Many consider this feat impossible. It requires reducing the current men’s world record time of 2:02:57 by 3%. With the both aim to help achieve a sub two-hour marathon, Nike is working with a diverse team of leaders across several fields of science and sport with a ‘holistic approach to athletes, product, training, nutrition and environment’.

According to Nike, Breaking2 provides an opportunity to explore whether the impossible is within reach. It is seen as the ultimate embodiment of Nike’s mission: ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete on the planet’.

Nike adds that… Attempting to break the sub two-hour marathon challenges the perception of what is possible in sport, resets the expectations of product and enables Nike to gather incredible athlete insight. These lessons can be applied across everything Nike does, including products and services, to ultimately serve all runners. The only real failure would be to not attempt such an audacious goal.

Reaching a sub two-hour marathon requires shaving seven seconds off each of the 26.2 miles of the marathon. Even for the world’s best runners this is a massive leap.

Nike spent significant time identifying three elite athletes who are equipped for (and bold enough to take on) the challenge. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea are all lined up to attempt the impossible and run a sub two-hour marathon.

Nike is always looking for barriers to break and the company points out that the idea of a sub two-hour marathon has come up many times. Fuelled by a long-standing passion for running, Nike began working on a footwear solution specific to the marathon in 2013. This effort ultimately transitioned a year later into a full-on commitment to breaking the two-hour marathon, precipitating the formation of the Breaking2 team.

The Breaking2 team includes world-class experts across biomechanics, coaching, design, engineering, materials development, nutrition and sports psychology and physiology. Alignment of the group’s diverse knowledge bases aims to unpack performance at the molecular level. In this, the team will ‘obsess every detail of the Breaking2 attempt, from weather conditions to jerseys, enabling Eliud, Lelisa and Zersenay to maximize their potential’.

After years of extensive research and development, ‘Breaking2 will debut a system of ground-breaking innovation that has the potential to elevate every runner’.

The date and location of the sub two-hour race attempt will be revealed next year.




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