Nike’s Breaking2 Project: Breaking the 2 hour marathon

The Nike Breaking2 was a impressive challenge to see if it was possible to break the 2 hour marathon barrier. Three elite athletes sponsored by Nike attempted to break the 2 hour barrier for a marathon run.


The Nike Breaking2 project was an impressive challenge to see if it was possible to break the 2 hour marathon barrier. Three elite athletes sponsored by Nike attempted to break the 2 hour barrier for a marathon run. The current (and still standing) world record stands at 2:02:57.

The race took place in a controlled environment on a Formula 1 race track referred to as The Temple of Speed, in Monza, Italy starting early dawn at 5:45AM local time. Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya lined up with half marathon world record-holder Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea and 2013 world silver medalist Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia to try to become the first men to cover 26.2 miles within two hours.

In honor of another historical running milestone, the race took place 63 years to the day when Roger Bannister ran the first sub four-minute mile. It was a nail-biting run with the final time clocked at 2:00:25. Tadeses and Desisa both dropped off and it was Eliud Kipchoge who broke the tape just 26 seconds short of 2 hours.



Nike had undergone years of planning for the race taking a carefully calculated approach to pacing and hydration. The race formula had pacers taking charge, creating a shield for the runners, and additionally a pace car blocked extraneous wind and projected a pace line on the road.

Nike acknowledged that this would not be an official world record attempt, but a testament to see what the human body can do under the best possible race conditions.

The time of 2:00:25 marks the fastest marathon ever run but is not an official world record due to regulations about pace setting. The marathon record still remains at 2:02:57 set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon.

Kipchoge interviewed after the run commented, “My mind was fully on finishing within two hours, but on the last lap I lost 10 seconds and the time escaped,” said Kipchoge. “It has been hard, it has taken seven good months of preparation and dedication. This journey has been a long challenge, but I’m a happy man to run a marathon in two hours.

“We are now just 25 seconds away,” he added. “I believe in good preparation and good planning. With that, these 25 seconds will go. I hope next time people believe it is possible.”



  • – “Truly incredible morning in Monza. @EliudKipchoge layed it all on the line and let us into his incredible 2 year journey. We’re all fans #breaking2” – @PaulaJRadcliffe, women’s marathon record holder and race commentator
  • – “Well done @EliudKipchoge for running the fastest marathon ever, 2:00:25. Your dedication and hard work is an inspiration to us all #breaking2” – @UKenyatta, President of Kenya
  • – “That was incredible to witness. Pinnacle of physical prowess and mental toughness. #EliudKipchoge won our hearts. #breaking2” – @joannazeiger, Olympic triathlete and coach
  • – “This is history.” – @BBCSport
  • – “An incredible feat from @EliudKipchoge, clocking 2 hours and 24 seconds during @Nike #breaking2” – @TwitterMoments



Kenyan, Eliud Kipchoge won the marathon gold medal in Rio and as well as medals for the 5,000m in Beijing and Athens Olympics.

His marathon PR currently stands at 2:03:05 and was set at the 2016 London Marathon.

Kipchoge is now part of the elite road running team managed by NN Group. The goal of this team is to provide support to the strong coaching team in Africa financially, and for coaching and medical care. The long-term goal is to change the whole dynamic of the sport and ignite interest in these amazing elite athletes.



The Nike Breaking2 project has so many talking points with regards to technology in sports. The Guardian ran an interesting article considering technology in running pertaining to the Nike Breaking2 project.

Do the shoes make a difference? All three athletes sported the new Nike VaporFly Elite specifically designed for the runners in the project. A consumer version will be called Zoom Vaporfly 4% to be released in June and will be available in limited supply at

Why the 4%? It’s included in the name because this particular running shoe is supposed to reduce the energy required to run by 4%. Whatever level of athlete you are, we can all appreciate that!

Sign up for JackRabbit emails to be the first to know when the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% is available.


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