Kipchoge just shy of sub 2-hour marathon

Kipchoge timed 2:00:24, missing the mark by 25 seconds. Eliud Kipchoge was 26 seconds from making history on Saturday but.

The three athletes also were equipped with a specially designed marathon shoe - lightweight, cushioned, thick soled, and fitted with a carbon plate to reduce the amount the foot flexes.

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.

Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker emphasized the progress that had been made.

"But they are using probably the greatest marathon runner that exists at the moment - Eliud Kipchoge".

Kipchoge was one of three elite athletes attempting to run the first sub-two hour marathon - exactly 63 years after Roger Bannister became the first person to break the four-minute mile.

Kipchoge ran the 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers) in 2 hours and 25 seconds, beating Dennis Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57, but the Kenyan failed to run the first sub-two hour marathon. To beat the two-hour mark, Kipchoge would have had to increase his speed by 3%-a feat many scientists believed was humanly impossible, and they seemed to have been proven right. Kimetto's World Record remains intact though. "When you step on the branches. immediately you go to the next one". The record time in the marathon has been dropping, but slowly - the last three-minute improvement in the world record took 16 years. The men's and women's world records were set running negative splits meaning the second half of the race is faster than the first. Desisa followed with a time just over 2 hours, 14 minutes.

"I rank this as the highest-ever performance in my life", Kipchoge said.

Running a two-hour marathon is, of course, the equivalent of running 13 miles an hour, or running at a pace of 4:34 per mile. "That message is really special to me". The duo still completed the 17.5 laps of the 1.5-mile Monza track with Tadese shaving almost four minutes off his personal best with a time of 2:06:51.

Even if the Nike-backed runners are successful their time will not be regarded as a formal world record by track and field's governing body, the IAAF, as it will not take place in officially sanctioned race conditions.

The one thing Nike couldn't measure before the race was the runners' grit.

Running expert John Kellogg told LetsRun.com that, "unless he's got a huge mechanical advantage - unless he's got cheater's shoes - and I don't know anything about those shoes - then he's not doing it". The Monza track was selected after extensive research that included average temperature, air pressure and wind levels.

  • Julie Sanders