The scoop on Nike's Breaking2 Attempt [Updated]

IMG_1056.JPEG

By Takia McClendon

[Updated to reflect results of the Breaking2 attempt]

On May 6th, Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese, and Lelisa Desisa will attempt to do something that no one (on record) has done before: run a marathon under two hours. 

If you're familiar with the marathon distance (26.2 miles), you know that this is a very challenging feat. For those of you who are unfamiliar, here are a few facts to give you an idea of how hard of a challenge this is:

  • The average marathon time in 2014 was 4 hours and 21 minutes. 
  • The men’s average finishing time was 4 hours and 13 minutes.
  • The women’s average finishing time was 4 hours and 42 minutes.

These guys were looking to run the marathon twice as fast as the average runner! The current record stands at 2:02:57. Did they have a chance?

Unlike a normal marathon course - thousands of runners, cheering crowds, competition from dozens of elite runners - the attempt will take place in a controlled speedway in Monza, Italy. This means that even if one of the athletes runs the marathon under two hours, it won't count towards the world record unless it's done in a race. 

Does this undermine the attempt? Not really. We'd love to know how certain conditions - weather, gear, pacers, course, etc. - can impact race times, even if it doesn't count towards the world record. Plus, as many of the women in our community know, running isn't just about racing. Sometimes knowing how far you can push your body is enough of a reward. 

If you're interested in watching the attempt, Nike will be living streaming it on Twitter at 11:30 PM EST. If you're wondering why it's so late, it's because it will be 5:30AM and perfect running conditions in Monzo, Italy.

We'll update this post with details about the Breaking2 attempt.   

Update: Eliud Kipchoge came close to breaking the two-hour marathon with a time of 2:00:25. Check out the video below for a recap of the historic run. 


Takia McClendon is the co-founder of City Fit Girls. She's a shoe expert and manager at a running store in Philadelphia and a Certified Level 1 USATF Coach. Follow her online at @takiamcclendon. 

Want training tips delivered to your inbox every Monday morning? Sign up here