The Two Hour Marathon – Runner’s Tribe
In the 1950s, the four-minute mile was considered the insurmountable barrier for athletes beyond the limits of human endurance.
That was until Roger Bannister first ran under that era at Iffley Road in Oxford, England, and since then countless men have run that distance under his era, with the current world record owned by Hicham El Guerrouji from Morocco who ran 3.43. 13 in Rome in 1999.
The fact that the distance is rarely run these days is probably why the record has not been lowered further since.
With the myth of the four-minute mile dispelled, the next big step in men’s running was the two-hour marathon.
Movies have been made about it and various attempts have been made over the years, but, again, it seemed like an impossible dream to many.
However, in Vienna in 2019, the impossible happened. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge became the first man in history to complete the 26.2 mile distance in a time of 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
He had help, however, in a race against time supported by Jim Ratcliffe, a British petrochemical engineer. Not only did the 34-year-old have pacemakers throughout the course, but he was running on a specially selected 6-mile (9.6 kilometer) track that was perfectly flat, lined with trees to provide welcome shade, and which had been perfectly handpicked.
Although Kipchoge was understandably thrilled when he crossed the line and saw the time, unfortunately for him it doesn’t count towards the world record as he didn’t come in a racing frame and the use of pacemakers makes him disabled.
Nevertheless, for those who are interested in betting on such things – bet 365 alternative links gives access to markets that would accept such a bet – it is a world record that risks falling sooner rather than later in a competitive environment.
Kipchoge himself holds the current record – set in Berlin in 2018, of 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds – and it’s not hard to imagine a convergence of conditions in which an elite athlete might be able to go faster in a race.
A flat, even smooth track with no cobbles or other obstacles, cool but not too cold conditions, and a following breeze can all help for a fast time. Advanced equipment design has also helped athletes run faster, especially shoe technology as seen from the last Olympic Games in Tokyo last year, where it was one of the factors behind some of the fast times achieved by some athletes.
Of course, even when and if that magic mark is finally reached, it won’t be enough for some people. It’s human nature to always want to go further and faster than ever before.
Once the two-hour marathon has officially been run, there will be the demand to chase another seemingly impossible landmark.
Is running 100 meters in under nine seconds really beyond imagination?