The sub 2 hour marathon: does it matter and do we care?

Quite a few people have been in touch recently asking me to comment on the recent hullabaloo created by Nike announcing they have developed a shoe that will smash the sub 2 hour marathon ceiling.

Unsurprisingly, this was followed, the very next day, by a similar statement from adidas. 

In my eternal quest to keep you, gentle reader, happy and content, I shall exert my best efforts to bring some sanity to this discussion. 

Before we get onto the (absurd and somewhat offensive) assertion that a shoe will be responsible for rewriting the record books, let’s take a look at what running a 2 hour marathon means. The marathon distance is 26 miles 385 yards, or 42.195 kilometers for the more advanced of us who work with the metric system!

Why 42.195km?

It was in 1908 that the modern distance of 42,195 km was fixed at the Olympic Games in London.u202fThe British royal family wanted to start the race at the Royal Windsor Castle and finish it in the White City stadium (a stadium that has now disappeared and replaced it with a state-of-the-art office site).u202f41.83 km separated Windsor from this stadium.u202fBut 3,218 km were added to the requirement of the royal family so that the race could end at their feet, in front of the lodge of the stadium reserved for them.u202fFollowing this modification, numerous debates took place, and the official distance was really and definitively increased to 42,195 km in 1921. Today, it runs on all continents.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical