Epic race story to the world 01:59

Epic race story to the world 01:59

The human body is physically unable to run a marathon (42 kilometers) in less than 1 hour and 58 minutes. It was calculated in 1991 by the American physicist Michael Joyner. He took into account three factors: the maximum amount of oxygen that an athlete is able to consume, the rate of lactic acid in the muscles, and maximum efficiency of running.

1 hour 58 minutes - under all ideal conditions, and an ideal athlete who does not expend energy in his body for anything other than running.

In the first Olympic Marathon, in 1896, the winner, Spiridon Luis from Greece, ran the distance in 2 hours and 58 minutes. For a long time, people could not believe that someone could do it in less than two and a half hours, until the Kenyan runners entered the business, famous for their ideal build for overcoming great distances.

The fastest time for which the athlete ever overcame the marathon, now is 2 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds.

But in 2014, a group of enthusiasts called Breaking2 decided to break this record.And to break through the two-hour border, which most coaches and athletes consider to be physically impossible. They collected $ 30 million for their project, and in December 2015 Nike released a statement. She announced that she would help with the rest of the money, and together with the project team she would try to create special sneakers in which the person would first overcome the two-hour milestone. The joint lab was named Breaking2 project.

Designers, engineers, and scientists worked to help runners improve their results by 4%. That should have been enough. Nike spent several tens of millions on technology, and the researchers were so imbued with the idea that they knocked out a tattoo with the inscription “1:59:59” on their wrists. The same number was stamped in the stone above the entrance to their testing laboratory.

At first, the idea was to make shoes as light as possible. Every 100 grams in weight of sneakers, they calculated, increases the energy costs of the runner by 1%. The team, led by Chinese biomechanic Gengom Luo, made prototypes of durable, lightweight carbon fiber sneakers-slaps.

They even completely removed the back of the shoe, exposing the heel - because the world's best athletes while running, use only the front and back of the foot.The idea turned out to be a failure: the connected athletes simply hated shoes, it was too dangerous and inconvenient, but in order to run in it, you would have to completely retrain.

Therefore, in 2015, a new strategy emerged: “not a light weight, but the right weight”. A special designed foam was added to the shoes, which was called ZoomX. The shoes became heavier, but the legs of the athletes were protected at the time of the marathon. Also, carbon fiber tubes were added to the back of the sneakers, which slightly lifted the foot, tilted the runner forward and created the feeling as if you were always running down the hill.

As a result, in theory, an athlete wearing a new Nike shoe could run 4% faster. The test results in the lab were excellent: runners liked it, and biomechanic Roger Cram of the University of Colorado confirmed that the shoe was suitable for running even better than the previous top sample, the Nike Streak 6.

From 2016, the selected best world athletes began to train in new shoes. Each runner in Breaking2 received $ 750,000 for taking part in the tests - and another $ 1 million if he could break the barrier of one to one to one.Scientists pinpointed particular hope on Eliudah Kipchog from Kenya, the world champion in cross country. Secretly from everyone else, without announcing anything, the athletes of the project Breaking2 in the new Nike sneakers went to the most prestigious 2016 London Marathon in the world.

As a result, Kiphoge won a gold medal at the marathon, while the other two athletes took silver and bronze. But there were some bad news: none of the runners showed an improvement of 4%, which were calculated in the laboratory. The real figure was closer to 3-3.4%, which could not be enough to overcome the two-hour barrier.


At the London Marathon

Athletes in the new sneakers Nike took all three prizes at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Kiphoge took the gold medal. But his result was far from ideal: 2:08:44. Gueng Luo, head of Breaking2, then said: “If he runs at such a speed, that’s enough to win all the Olympic Games. But even a 4% improvement is not enough here to cross the two-hour line. ”

In March 2017, Nike finally unveiled a new shoe to the public. They called her Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, and set a $ 250 price tag. The announcement was accompanied by a short story about the victories of the runners who wore these sneakers. This caused a big scandal.Ross Tucker, the most famous sports blogger in South Africa, created a petition to ban these shoes at competitions, comparing it with doping.

“Any device inserted into a shoe should be banned, even if it is a special foam. These runners spend less energy than everyone else; this is unsportsmanlike, ”Tucker wrote. But international sports organizations did not ban anything, and even the Olympic Committee did not recall the medals.

The reason is that none of the basic components of Vaporfly was fundamentally new. All modern shoes are made up of the same parts, the only innovation in Nike sneakers was their organization and how the carbon fiber plate sat in the foam. “Magic,” said Geng Luo, “in geometry.”


Formula 1 race track near the city of Monza, Italy. Eliud Kipchoge - in red.

On May 6, 2017, a Kenyan, Eliud Kiphoge, walked early in the morning on a highway in Italy to break the two-hour barrier. To this day the athlete has been training since 2014. Tesla rode all the way in front of him with an electronic scoreboard showing the numbers until 1:59:59.

The car moved exactly as fast as the athlete had to go in order to reach the finish line on time.Specialists from Breaking2 rode to his left and to his right, following the situation.

The clock was 1:57:05, and the kilometer remained to the finish. But the chances were: the engineers knew that by the end of the marathon, Kiphoge was always accelerating.

The last kilometer from Kiphoge took 3 minutes and 20 seconds. The final time is 02:00:25. This is better than the previous record by more than 2 minutes. But the two-hour frontier is still intact.

Eliud Kipchoge and scientists from Breaking2 still believe that a record is possible with Vaporfly. Now an athlete is training in Kenya, in the forests of Kaptagata, in a specially constructed laboratory building, so that after all once to cross the two-hour border.

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  • Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59

    Epic race story to the world 01:59