Runner Narrowly Misses 2-Hour Marathon Mark at Nike's Breaking2

Rufina Vignone
Mag 19, 2017

Three-time Boston Marathon victor Desisa, from Ethiopia, and Eritrean half-marathon world-record holder Tadese dropped off the pace to leave Kipchoge crossing the line alone at the end of the 17-and-a-half trips around the 1.5-mile loop circuit.

Kipchoge finished the Breaking2 event in an impressive 2 hours, 25 seconds, eclipsing Dennis Kimetto's world mark of 2:02:57 by 2½ minutes and raising hopes that one of sport's most famous barriers can be broken.

Backed by a small army of scientists and helped by an ever-changing battalion of pacesetters, Kipchoge set out to complete the classic marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42.195km) in 1hr 59min 59 sec or faster on a fixed loop at the Monza National Autodrome racing circuit in Italy.

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya has set new marathon record but did not break two-hour mark during a Nike event in Italy.

With exactly 10K remaining, at 32.2K, Kipchoge and the pacers were just outside of the two-hour marathon.

If Kipchoge, Desisa or Tadese runs 26.2 miles in fewer than two hours Friday night, Nike claims a major victory.

The sub-two hour mark required a pace below four minutes and 35 seconds per mile, which the determined Kipchoge managed to stick to until falling behind the pace vehicle in the last two laps of the 2.4 km circuit.

A total of 30 pacemakers split into groups of six, taking turns to set a tempo in a race run 63 years to the day after Briton Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes.

Critics call it a publicity stunt, a vehicle for Nike to sell running shoes.

He thinks sub-two will most likely be run at one of the traditional city marathons.

A Kenyan runner has fallen agonising short in his bid to be the first athlete to run the marathon in under two hours.

At a half-marathon test run on the track last month, Kipchoge and Tadese both beat an hour for the half-marathon. Today, high school runners are routinely coming in under four minutes, and the mile world record has dropped by 17 seconds. The Kenyan is joined by Lelisa Desisa, two-time victor of the Boston marathon, and Zersanay Tadese, the current half-marathon world record holder. Hovering just under the 2-hour mark for most of the race, his pace creeped up during the last 5K.

Rather than coinciding the attempt with one of the big city marathons such as London, Berlin, New York, or Boston, the project has chosen to stage the attempt on Monza's fixed 2.4km looped track - the location of the fastest lap in the history of Formula One. To complete the marathon in under two hours, the runners will have to shave an average of seven seconds off every mile they run.

Tadese ran 2:06:51; Desisa finished in 2:14:08.

"Thanks to all the pacers, to help me to go through this challenge", he said. Any improvement over a personal best thus comes marginally.

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