AMONG running aficionados here in Cebu, when you say “Sub-2,” you’re referring to running a 21K race in under two hours. It’s nowhere near the world record time of 58 minutes and 23 seconds but it’s not an easy feat. You’ve got to own speedy feet and run at a pace of 5:43 for 21 kms.
There’s another meaning of “sub-2” and it’s a crazy proposition: Running a FULL marathon (42.195 kms.) in under two hours. This means that for those who are happy to record a sub-2 half-marathon, you’ve got to finish the same time — at twice the distance!
For decades now, millions of runners around the globe have thought that this achievement would be nearly impossible. But as each year passed, the marathon WR time got faster and faster. The current record, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in 2014 at the Berlin Marathon, stands at 2:02:57. (The last six maraton WR records were recorded in Berlin.. so here’s a tip for those who want to PR: run in the capital city of Germany.)
You might say: shaving off two minutes and 57 seconds isn’t that long. Doesn’t it take us a longer time to shower or do our morning grooming? Yes. But in running, 177 seconds is a lengthy time. Running a sub-2 marathon means that you’ll have to run at a pace of over 21-kph nonstop for two hours. Try stepping on a treadmill and pressing 13-kph speed for several minutes. Only the fastest among us — including Dr. Yong Larrazabal, who did a speedy 3:14 at the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon — can maintain that speed for 42 kms.
So, the sub-2 marathon will take decades of incremental improvements to achieve, right?
Enter Adidas and Nike. The two sporting giants are attempting to break this target this 2017. For Adidas, they have a shoe named “Adizero Sub2” and later this year, they plan to break this barrier. (There’s a “sub2hrs.com” website that reads: Countdown to the first subhr marathon: No longer a matter of IF but rather WHEN.)
For Nike, you must have read the news. In an event in Italy the other Saturday, the Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge has ran the fastest ever 42K: two hours and 25 seconds. Yup, that’s 2:33 faster than the world record and a mere 26 seconds from recording that most incredible of numbers: 1:59:59.
Eliud Kipchoge is a human being unlike any other. Quite possibly, he will end his career as the greatest long-distance runner in history. He is not only the Olympic (Brazil) gold medalist, he is also the London and Berlin marathon champion and has won seven of his eight marathon races. Nike made the perfect decision in tapping the 32-year-old Kenyan to break the record. But was his record legitimate? Watch for the next article.