China Central Television (CCTV) – Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge was on Saturday just 25 seconds shy of clocking human races’ first sub-two hour marathon. But his finish-time of two hours 25 seconds is still a fabulous feat in itself.
The Kenyan has chopped over two minutes and 32 seconds off the three-year-old standing world record for the men’s 42.195-kilometer race. It is the fastest human marathon so far. However, Kipchoge’s time does not count as a record because of the pacing strategy that allowed other runners to join the course other than at the start.
Saturday’s race was held on a closed circuit in Monza of Italy. The course is designed for the Grand Prix F-1 motor racing.
The race had “Breaking-2” as its message.
“So to pass that message is really important to me. That’s why I was pushing to prove that there is no human who has limitation,” said Eliud Kipchoge after the race.
To the reigning world women marathon record holder, the message and the clocking prompter acted more like limits than facilities.
“Whereas he was seeing the time up that he had to keep on and that is a stress in itself, but he proved himself very very capable of doing that,” commented Paola Radcliffe, the record holder.
Eliud Kipchoge clocked two hours 25 seconds to beat two-time Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and half-marathon world-record holder Zersenay Tadese from Eritrea in Saturday’s race. The trio started at 05:45 local time along the 2.4-kilometer loop on part of the Autodromo Nazionale Track.
Tadese finished in 2:06:51 while Desisa came in 2:14:10.
Saturday’s race was essentially an experiment by Nike to see how much human potential can be tapped on.
The race masters have worked on all the facilities they could master – track surface, altitude, air temperature, humidity, hydration, nutrition and pace-makers.
“How were they in the first half, how were they in the second half; because we have timing gates every 200 meters. We had some information on the weather, profiles and how the conditions being changed every two hours. We had weather meters on course so they would be able to look at that kind of data and took some measurements during the actual event as well. And then some particular motion analysis that we might have had some units on the backs of the guys as well,” said Brett Kirby, a researcher with Nike Sport Research Lab.