Breaking2 results: Nike athletes miss sub 2-hour marathon

Eliud Kipchoge missed the sub two-hour marathon barrier by just 25 seconds on Monza's Formula 1 track this morning, clocking 2 hours 00min 24sec as Nike's controversial Breaking2 project narrowly failed to produce a result that many knowledgeable observers of the sport would not have expected until 2075.

The Kenyan is joined by Lelisa Desisa, two-time victor of the Boston marathon, and Zersanay Tadese, the current half-marathon world record holder. To date, the fastest marathon time by the three runners taking part in this attempt is Kipchoge's 2:03:05 in London in 2016. Now, however, the two-hour mark could fall much sooner than that.

Chris Derrick, who grew up in Naperville and ran track at Neuqua Valley High School and Stanford University, was to serve as one of the pacers who bit off 5 kilometer chunks to help the marathoners try to accomplish the mythical feat. "The aim of "Breaking2" was to pass the message that running less than two-hour marathon is possible".

Jos Hermens, an agent representing Mr. Kipchoge, said in an interview last week that anything slower than the current world record "would be a failure".

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Kipchoge's attempt at running a sub-two hour marathon-alongside Lelisa Desisa and Zersenay Tadese-was considered a "moonshot" by athletic gear maker Nike (nke).

But that will not trouble Nike, which is today basking in the praise of Kipchoge's remarkable run, which was broadcast live simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter and can be watched in full on YouTube.

Ed Caesar, author of the 2015 book "Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon", notes that Roger Bannister's iconic breaching of the four-minute-mile barrier in 1954 was frowned upon in certain quarters because of the Briton's use of pace runners.

Nike selected the Monza race track near Milan, Italy as the site of the attempt, opting for a controlled situation rather than, say, an environment like the NY or London marathons. "It's taken seven good months of preparation", he said.

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Despite being a second over the target time after five kilometres, Kipchoge was clocked at five seconds under after 10 then 15 km, and was still two seconds inside the target at the 25 km mark. "I am happy that I've reduced by 2 1/2 minutes the world record".

The Kenyan added: "We are going up the tree, I have lifted a branch and I am going onto the next one".

The 35-year-old Eritrean, the oldest competitor on Saturday, finished in 2:06:51, followed by the youngest, 26-year-old Desisa, in 2:14:10.

Nike's goal of creating a sub-2-hour marathon has been so close but is just an audacious aspiration even after three years of planning. Plus, runners will be wearing the brand's Zoom Vaporfly Elite, which cushions their feet on an angle to exert less energy.

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