In 2019 , Nike made a second attempt to the unthinkable: a sub-2-hour marathon race. They have prevailed in their unique objective, and it was everything with the exception of a disappointment. A couple of years on, how about we do a maths and break down the numbers.
On that morning of Saturday of October twelfth, three distance runners, Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese, set off into the darkness (in a real sense – they began before sunrise) as they endeavored the outlandish feat: running 26.2 miles in under 2 hours. The legend goes that the courier Philippides ran the separation from the combat zone of Marathon to Athens to declare that the Persians were defeated. After having shouted “we have won,” he at that point collapsed and died from exhaustion, having run the whole distance, yet also have faced the conflict himself. Legend or not, I can unquestionably trust it. World-class runners we see on TV make it look so easy, yet consider the big picture… 26.2 miles. That is 42.2 kilometers, 42200 meters, 105 laps of a running track – it’s insane.
In any case, the distance isn’t the problem. In the marathon race, the current men’s world record is 2:01:39, held by Kipchoge himself and was set in Berlin in 2018. That works out at 4:39 per mile for 26.2 of them. Roger Banister famously ran a sub-4-minute mile in 1954 (almost 65 years preceding Nike’s sub-2-hour long-distance race), which is still today a staggering accomplishment, yet that is only for one mile without help from anyone else. The marathon world record speed might be a little slower (17.5% to be precise); however, here we are discussing 26.2 of them, in succession, without any breaks, as I said previously, insane.
If you don’t know about your imperial measurements (who does nowadays), the world record pace is an average of 2:48 per kilometer or 67 seconds for each 400m/1 lap of a running track. To believe that marathon runners do that for 105 laps straight is stunning. We can proceed and separate it significantly further into 100m sections. One long-distance race is equivalent to 422 sets of 100m, and to break the world record, you would have to run every one of them in 17 seconds. It probably won’t sound too hard; running a 17-second 100m race, you could likely go out and do it at this moment if you are in some physical shape, yet that would be one. Have a go at doing 421 more at a similar speed, in a row, without any break, once more, crazy. Ideally, you get the image at this point.