Running a sub-three-minute kilometre is no easy feat. Now imagine running that for 42.195 kilometres, without stopping or slowing down.
That’s what elite runner Dennis Kimetto did at the Berlin Marathon in 2014. He finished the race with the fastest time ever for the marathon distance—a world record that still stands—at 2:02:57, meaning he ran each kilometre in about 2:55 minutes. That’s crazy fast, obviously, considering the average marathoner runs the full 42 kilometres in around 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Plus, the fact that no other elite runner has come close to breaking the record for the past three years has made many in the industry wonder if it can even be done. After all, we’re only human—we discover our limitations eventually, right? Some even said it would be impossible to run faster than Kimetto and break the elusive two-hour marathon mark.
Leave it to Nike to step up to the challenge: the sportswear behemoth has assembled an elite team of runners who will attempt to break the two-hour marathon record this Saturday, May 6th.
Called the “Breaking2” Race, three runners—Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese—who were specifically selected by Nike will run a full marathon on The Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Monza, Italy. The three men have spent years working with Nike’s research and training teams to prepare to break the two-hour barrier, trying out everything from new footwear to aerodynamic attire to scientifically-approved fueling strategies.
On Saturday, they’ll be surrounded by a small group of pacers (who also act as human windbreakers) to run around the track in Monza. If everything goes according to plan, the men will end up running at a superhuman pace of about 2:50 per kilometre. But that’s only if everything goes to plan—and any runner knows that on race day, anything can happen. It could be too hot, the wind could be too strong, or the runners might just not be in the right headspace. Hopefully, everything falls into place, and we’ll be pleasantly surprised by the unending potential of the human body.
Even though it won’t be broadcast on TV, run lovers can still get their fix; sign up to watch the live stream of the event on Saturday. Regardless of whatever happens, it’s bound to be a great show.