I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Nike is currently undergoing a project to facilitate a sub-2-hour marathon in the near future. Recently, they did a half marathon test run on a Formula One race track. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya was the fastest runner of the day at 59:17, but according to Alex Hutchinson of Runner’s World, Nike claimed beforehand that this was “not a race or even a time trial; it was, they said, a dress rehearsal for the complex logistics of the attempt.”

Hutchinson goes on to say:

The next step for the team is to analyze the piles of data they collected from the runners during the attempt, from ingested core-temperature pills, taped-on muscle oxygen and skin-temperature sensors, pre- and post-run weight measurements, and so on. That will give them an indication of how hard the athletes were working during the half marathon—and, crucially, whether they’ll be able to hold nearly the same pace for twice as long.

We’re certainly interested in learning more about the data they collect but there are some cold, hard facts we have to face when considering whether a sub-2-hour marathon is possible today. Just plug in 1:59:59 into the VDOT Calculator and look at the results!

1:59:59 

Training Paces

  • Easy – 5:18-5:38/mi or 3:17-3:30/km
  • Marathon – 4:34/mi or 2:50/km
  • Threshold – 4:25/mi or 2:44/km
  • Interval – 4:04/mi or 2:32/km
  • Repetition – 3:40/mi or 2:17/km

Equivalent Performances

  • Half Marathon – 57:10 (current WR is 58:23)
  • 15k – 39:50
  • 10k – 26:01
  • 5k – 12:29
  • 3k – 7:09
  • 1 Mile – 3:37
  • 1500m – 3:21

After viewing these stats do you still think is reasonable or just a fun marketing gimmick?