Nike launches bid to break two-hour marathon mark

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The latest campaign sees Nike support three athletes in their bid to not only beat the current men’s world record time of 2:02:57, but break the two-hour barrier too.

Nike is working with a diverse team of leaders across several fields of science and sport with a holistic approach to athletes, product, training, nutrition and environment.

THE MISSIOM

In 1954, Sir Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile. Bannister didn’t just break a record; he redefined what athletes were capable of and inspired confidence in others to do the same.

Attempting to break the sub two-hour marathon also challenges the perception of what is possible in sport, resets the expectations of product and enables Nike to gather incredible athlete insight.

These lessons can be applied across everything Nike does, including products and services, to ultimately serve all runners. The only real failure would be to not attempt such an audacious goal.

THE ATHLETES

Reaching a sub two-hour marathon requires shaving seven seconds off each of the 26.2 miles of the marathon. Even for the world’s best runners this is a massive leap.

Nike spent significant time identifying three elite athletes who are perfectly equipped for (and bold enough to take on) the challenge.

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea are all lined up to attempt the impossible and run a sub two-hour marathon. These runners are not afraid of the unknown — they attack it.

ELIUD KIPCHOGE

Eliud Kipchoge, 32 years old, was born November 5 in Kapsisiywa, Nandi District and has won medals at both the Olympic and World level. Eliud began running after high school following years of observing his coach and mentor, Patrick Sang, who is still his coach to date.

In 2003, Eliud made his debut in distance running after setting a world junior record in the 5000 meters at the IAAF World Cross Country Championship. Later that year, Eliud became World Champion at the World Championships in Athletics. In 2012, Eliud set a half-marathon best with a time of 59:25.

Eliud won a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics in 5000 meters, a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 5000 meters and most recently, a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the men’s marathon.

He improved his personal best marathon time by 5 seconds after winning the Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:04:00. In 2016, he improved upon that time even further when he set a new course record in the London Marathon achieving a winning time of 2:03:05.

ZERSENAY TADESE

Zersenay Tadese, 34 years old, was born February 8 in Adi Bana, Eritrea. His bronze medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics made him the first ever Eritrea Olympic medalist. He was also Eritrea’s first athlete to win a World Championship event when he took the 20-kilometer title in the 2006 IAAF World Road Running Championships.

Zersenay has four consecutive victories in the World Half Marathon Championships from 2006-2009 and won the title again in 2012. He set a world record in the 2010 Lisbon Half Marathon and has won gold, silver and two bronze medals at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Zersenay is a four-time Olympian competing at the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

In 2009, Zersenay became the second man to win three World Championship medals over three different surfaces in the same year. Zersenay currently holds the men’s half marathon world record with a time of 58:23. His brother, Kidane Tadese, is also a professional distance runner.

LELISA DESISA

Lelisa Desisa, 26 years old, was born January 14 in Shewa, Ethiopia. Early in his running career, Lelisa focused on road racing. He made his breakthrough in 2010 after running sub-60 minutes placing third at the Zayed International Half Marathon. He has won many high-profile races such as Boilermaker 15K, Cherry Blossom 10-miler, Bolder Boulder 10K and Delhi Half Marathon.

Lelisa made his marathon debut by running 2:04:45 hours in the 2013 Dubai Marathon. Lelisa won the 2013 Boston Marathon and with the event of the bombings, he gave his medal back to the city of Boston to honor all the bombing victims. In 2015, he won the Boston Marathon again with a time of 2:09:17, and took second in 2016.

THE TEAM

Nike is always looking for barriers to break and the idea of a sub two-hour marathon has come up many times.  Fueled by a long-standing passion for running, Nike began working on a footwear solution specific to the marathon in 2013. This effort ultimately transitioned a year later into a full-on commitment to breaking the two-hour marathon, precipitating the formation of the Breaking2 team.

The Breaking 2 team includes world-class experts across biomechanics, coaching, design, engineering, materials development, nutrition and sports psychology and physiology. Alignment of the group’s diverse knowledge bases aims to unpack performance at the molecular level. In this, the team will obsess every detail of the Breaking2 attempt, from weather conditions to jerseys, enabling Eliud, Lelisa and Zersenay to maximize their potential.

THE INNOVATION

To run the perfect race, the athletes require the most innovative product. This is a critical pillar of the Breaking2 attempt, and where Nike is able to deliver unrivaled performance benefits. After years of extensive research and development, Breaking2 will debut a system of groundbreaking innovation that has the potential to elevate every runner.

THE ATTEMPT

To go faster than ever, each second is optimized by careful consideration of course and conditions. The date and location of the sub two-hour race attempt will be revealed next year. Join us to follow the progress of Breaking2 here.

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Top five runners' foods to prepare for Dubai Marathon

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Are you racing on January 20th?

The Dubai Marathon startline is very much in sight now for runners in the UAE and while by now competitors will be running more kilometres than ever to get themselves in peak condition, it’s fundamental to back-up your training with a healthy diet.

You naturally burn a lot of calories running and stir up a strong appetite, but make sure you take the following foods into account when you are refueling, race prepping and putting the final touches to your marathon programme.

From snack suggestions to pre-run intake, Sport360’s resident runner Stuart Appleby offers some tips.

Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

PASTA

It’s the perfect food to have in the build-up as it provides slow-release energy, given it’s full of carbohydrates. Pasta is also easily digestible and should be a staple part of your diet, particularly if you combine it with some low-fat protein like chicken and fish.

Read our recent piece on carb-loading before a big endurance event.

MEAT AND FISH

Your body needs building blocks to repair and protein will do just that. For a runner training for a marathon, around 1.5g of protein per kg (0.2g per kg) of bodyweight could be consumed daily. Protein also contains amino acid that is used by the body to rebuild.

BANANA

Great for a quick snack and energy hit – it’s the ideal fresh fruit that’s full of good nutrients and will help replace electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium, which are lost when sweating.

Most fruit and vegetables generally come into this category.

RICE

An excellent long-distance food, rice provides slow energy release and important fibre content, helping you to build up crucial reserves for endurance activity. Try and go for boiled and steamed rice where possible.

PORRIDGE

Looking for that perfect breakfast boost? Porridge is a classic runners’ food – kick-starting your day with a mix of protein, fibre and again, slow-release energy.

Oatmeal cereal and breakfast bars will also come in handy as a small, yet efficient breakfast to have before race day that won’t make you too full or leave you too hungry either.

AND…

FLUID INTAKE

While this isn’t foods as such, water is of course essential and keeping hydrated is fundamental. Consuming a minimum of two litres per day should be your basic daily target, particularly given the hot climate in the UAE.

There’s obviously lots of energy drink options out there and while some probably contain too much sugar, a glucose-booster is particularly good to give you that extra edge during a race and help recovery after you pass the finish line. I’d also recommend coffee, but not too much. One cup a day obviously gives you that much-needed caffeine boost and can help you stay the distance for endurance events.

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Lifestyler: 10 heart healthy foods

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There are many ways for you to keep your heart healthy.

During the cooldown of my Define Rev classes I always joke that my revolutionaries have just taken care of the most important muscle of all: their heart.

Cardiovascular exercise is vital for your health, but there are other things that are also important.

A healthy, balanced diet is one of them and there are certain foods that specifically benefit your heart.

1. OILY FISH: Omega 3 has an anti-clotting effect to keep your blood flowing. It also helps lower triglycerides (a type of fat that can lead to heart disease). Aim for at least two servings of oily fish each week, says the American Heart Association. Choose from tuna, salmon, trout, sardines and mackerel.

2. BERRIES: Berries are packed full of antioxidants called polyphenols that mop up damaging free radicals in your body. They also provide a good amount of fibre and Vitamin C, both of which lower risk of a stroke. Berries are expensive to buy, but easy to grow.

3. LOW FAT DIARY: Dairy products are a good source of potassium which protects against high blood pressure. According to the Heart Foundation “eating reduced-fat milk, cheese and yoghurt as part of a heart healthy diet can protect against heart disease and stroke, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and some cancers.” If you can find milk from grass fed cows, you will also get omega 3.

4. LEGUMES: These are a very good source of soluble fibre which reduces your “bad” LDL cholesterol. High LDL levels increase your risks for cardiovascular disease, which is typically related to a process called atherosclerosis. This condition develops when bad cholesterol combines with other substances in the blood and turns into plaques that build up in your arteries. Gradually it blocks off the artery or a piece can break off, causing a clot.

5. RED GRAPES: These have resveratrol, which helps keep platelets in your blood from sticking together, allowing for free-flowing blood.

6. NUTS: Fats from nuts can lower high blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. Nibbling a handful of nuts each week may cut your risk of heart disease in half.

7. AVOCADOS: Fats from a daily avocado can significantly lower your bad cholesterol. These fruits get their creamy texture from “good” fats which lower your “bad” cholesterol. They also seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

8. OATMEAL: Oats contain betaglucan, a type of fibre that lowers your LDL cholesterol. Also available from barley, seaweed and shiitake mushrooms. You can lower your cholesterol by ingesting 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal or cooked barley each day.

9. OLIVE OIL: Olive oil contains oleic acid and oleocanthal, nutrients that can fight inflammation, protect LDL particles from oxidative damage, improve the function of the endothelium (lining of the blood vessels), helps prevent unwanted blood clotting and reduces blood pressure.

10. DARK CHOCOLATE: Cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is rich in flavanols, which reduce blood pressure and prevent blood clots. It also acts as an antioxidant, which stops “bad” cholesterol sticking to artery walls.

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