Breaking 2: Anything now possible for world's elite runners

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Eliud Kipchoge strolls into the press room, flashes a wink here and there, and looks as fresh as ever.

It’s hard to believe, just thirty minutes before, the 32-year-old ran the world’s fastest marathon of all time.

For the current Olympic champion over 42.195km, playing the starring role in Nike’s ambitious Breaking 2 project seemed like just another day at his running office as he fielded questions from the world media.

His stunning run at the iconic Monza circuit  – 2:00:25 – was 2:33 minutes faster than the world record set by Dennis Kimetto at the Berlin Marathon three years ago. Quite incredible.

However, when one looks at the history books it will not stand as an official record because of the pacing and hydration strategies employed by Nike during the race.

Nevertheless, the Kenyan has proved under intense spotlight and media attention that nothing is impossible when it comes to marathon running.

“This journey has been good. It’s been hard. It’s been a long journey. It’s taken seven good months of preparation,” he said.

“I’m happy to have done it. With the race I felt good, I’m a happy man to run a marathon in two hours. Now it is just 25 seconds.

“I believe in good preparation and planning and if I stick to that the 25 seconds will come.”

Nike’s Breaking 2 has been six years in the making with over 60 athletes tested to carry out the project. In the end, Lelisa Desisa, Zersenay Tadese and Kipchoge were selected due to a combination of talent, training and technology – and with this a chance to run a sub two-hour marathon.

Some of the world’s leading scientists were drafted in to offer their expertise, visiting the athletes in their home countries, to monitor their training and share advice on how they can improve their physical and aerobic standards.

In addition to the training and diet advice, the team also designed a lightweight shoe – Zoom Vaporfly Elite – with its carbon fibre in-sole created to offer a marginal gain to the elite of the sport.

The track at Monza – with its run-friendly curves and low headwind – offered quick turns and an opportunity for the runners to reduce or maintain pacing times at various points of the track.

Desisa and Tadesa may be disappointed at not finishing closer to the two-hour mark, but as Kipchoge paid homage to after the race, it’s a team sport and both athletes played a key role in pushing the Kenyan to achieve this landmark feat.

At 26, Desisa is six years Kipchoge’s junior, and with a personal best of 2:04:45 to his name, he has the potential to challenge the record books in the future.

What’s significant about Nike’s Breaking 2 is its ability to put the athlete at the forefront of the project and offer the best training and expertise to help talent achieve the impossible.

It may be a while before we see a sub-two hour time in an official race, but Breaking 2 has certainly given hope to a younger generation of athletes to continue to push the boundaries in their quest to achieve the inhumane.

Walking away from Monza this evening, it’s clear that this time will be challenged, but thanks to global brands like Nike, it can really open the eyes to the running community that this is possible.

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Kipchoge runs world's fastest marathon at Nike's Breaking2 event in Monza

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Eliud Kipchoge.

Eliud Kipchoge failed in his bid to break the sub-two hour marathon barrier, but produced a stunning performance of 2:00:25 to run the quickest recorded marathon ever at Nike’s Breaking 2 event.

The Kenyan – alongside Lelisa Desisa and world half-marathon record holder Zersenay Tadese – were bidding to lower the world record exactly 63 years since Roger Bannister ran the first four-minute mile in 1954.

The Breaking 2 running project was part of a long innovative plan by Nike to prove that lowering the world record was not impossible.

Despite not going under two hours at the iconic Monza circuit, Kipchoge lowered a world record previously set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Although his effort was nothing short of sensational, it will not count as an official record due to the pacing strategy.

Kipchoge said: “I’m happy to have done it. With the race I felt good, I’m a happy man to run a marathon in two hours. Now it is just 25 seconds.

“I believe in good preparation and planning and if I stick to that the 25 seconds will come.”

He added: “The aim of breaking two to bring together six billion people. To pass that message is really important to me. That’s why we are pushing to prove there is no human that has limitation.”

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Watch LIVE coverage of Nike's sub-two hour marathon attempt

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Three elite runners will attempt an audacious assault on the boundaries of the possible by trying to run a marathon in less than two hours.

Reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge from Kenya, Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa and Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese will aim to complete the marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometres) in 1hr 59min 59 sec or faster at the Monza National Autodrome racing circuit in Italy.

In their pursuit of sporting immortality the trio will need to set a ferocious pace of 4min 34sec per mile — seven seconds quicker than the pace of the current world record of 2:02:57 set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Can they break the record?

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

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