In 1954, Roger Bannister did the impossible. Rather, what most felt was impossible. He was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes (his time was 3:59.4).

Thousands attempted and failed to break the four-minute mark before Bannister actually did it, but once he demonstrated it could be done, a certain mental barrier was removed.

Two months after Bannister, two more runners clocked a mile at under four minutes. Then a man ran the mile in under 3:50. Then another ran one in under 3:45. Today, high school runners are routinely coming in under four minutes, and the mile world record has dropped by 17 seconds.

As you can see, the human body is capable of defying the unimaginable.

So, will we see another “impossible” running mark eclipsed this weekend? Maybe.

Three of the world’s fastest marathoners have been training with Nike to run a sub-2:00 marathon. The current record stands at 2:02:57 (set by Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon). Three minutes may not sound like a lot of time to cut, but for these world-class athletes, it’s an eternity. However, not preposterous.

Four-time Olympic medalist Eliud Kipchoge (won gold in Rio), two-time Boston winner Lelisa Desisa, and half marathon world-record holder Zersenay Tadese will toe the start line at a Formula One race track in Monza, Italy to do 17.5 laps.

To break the record, the athletes must average 4:35 per mile for 26.2 miles. They ran a test half-marathon in early March and two of the runners came in at under 60 minutes.

This is part of Nike’s Breaking2 Project, which is designed to push human performance to new frontiers. Along with designing a backed-by-science custom shoe for the event, Nike researchers and physiologists have been in the lab and on the track with the three athletes working to create ideal marathon conditions for them.

For the test event, the runners wore skin censors and swallowed a core body temp sensor to provide data. Because heat limits marathon performance, [Nike’s lead physiologist] Kirby said the Nike team sought to determine how well the athletes would manage it. (USA Today)

Based upon the results, an optimal hydration strategy was created.

So, if you’d like to tune in and possibly witness a sub-2:00 marathon, here are the details:


In the U.S., Friday, May 5, 11:45 p.m. Eastern/8:45 p.m. Pacific. In Europe, Saturday, May 6, 5:45 a.m. Central European Summer Time.


Nike’s Breaking2 Landing page on Twitter: You don’t need a Twitter handle to log in or watch.

Nike’s Breaking2 Facebook page: You will need a Facebook account to log in.