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Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese among 3 “Elite Athletes” selected by Nike to Break 2-Hour Marathon Barrier

Nike’s elite runners, from left, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea. (Nike Photo)

By Wire

When Sir Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile in 1954, he redefined what athletes were capable of.

Nike wants to do this again with its new initiative, Breaking2, a moonshot project aiming to break the two-hour marathon barrier.

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) current marathon world record for men is 2:02:57, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya on September 28, 2014 at the Berlin Marathon. Nike wants to reduce this record by three per cent to “explore whether the impossible is within reach”.

In order to do this, the sports company will work with a team of leaders across science and sport, combined with a holistic approach to athletes, product, training and environment. Nike has handpicked three elite athletes to take part in the challenge: Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya, Lelisa Desisa from Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese from Eritrea.

You might recognise Kipchoge. He set a new course record in the London Marathon in 2016 with a winning time of 2:03:05. Tadese is the men’s half marathon world record holder and was the first ever Eritrean Olympic medalist. Desisa is only 26-years-old but has won the Boston Marathon as well as many other high-profile races. The combined team has four Olympic medals, four World Championship medals as well as a slew of awards in other events.

As well as working on improving the athletes’ game in terms of training, Nike is using this as an opportunity to work on a footwear solution specific to breaking the sub two-hour marathon. The Breaking2 team will cover biomechanics, coaching, design, engineering and material development in order to enable Nike’s athletes to maximise their potential.

Nike has said it began the full-commitment to break the two-hour barrier in the summer of 2014, when the Breaking2 team was formed. Over the past two years, extensive research and development has been carried it for Nike to reach the point now where it feels it can start delivering performance benefits.

Using this research, over the next year, the Breaking2 team will work closely with Kipchoge, Desisa and Tadese to train them for the feat with Nike saying the date and location of the sub-two-hour race attempt will be revealed next year.

Ultimately, in order for the Breaking2 team to achieve this feat, the runners will have to shave seven seconds off each of the 26.2 miles of the marathon. This is a huge challenge, even for the world’s best runners and it will be interesting to see if they can achieve this.
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Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese among 3 “Elite Athletes” selected by Nike to Break 2-Hour Marathon Barrier Reviewed by Admin on 12:00 AM Rating: 5

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