10 May

Just (About To) Do It

Whatever your take on the rights and wrongs of Nike's manufactured bid to break two hours for the marathon last weekend, it's undeniable that it was absolutely fascinating writes Chris Broadbent. The morality of Breaking2, which included constant pacemaking, wind protection, advanced technology footwear and nutrition fuelling on the move – all designed to shave precious seconds and minutes off the existing world record of 2:02:57 – were widely questioned.

Given the engineered environment, the world record was not under threat. Whatever the outcome, it would not be officially recognised as it didn't meet the criteria organised marathons run under.

And sure, it was driven by commercial reasons, with Nike's new carbon-fibre plated shoes central to the plot. The whole event at Monza, Italy was unashamedly plastered with the famed swoosh with tight media controls around the event ensuring the only way to witness it was through Nike's own platforms.

Yet, the attempt fell agonisingly short of breaching running's last great barrier with Kenya's Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge covering the 26.2miles in a – still astonishing – 2:00:25, despite being on schedule with just 5k remaining. Just didn't do it.

Yet it would be cruel to label the attempt, which also included Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa and Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese, as a failure. Breaking2 has added even greater intrigue to the magical distance.

Even if two hours-something remains the fastest time any man has ever run a marathon, the psychological reset button has now been pressed on what is possible for the distance.

There are those in the running world who believed it was impossible to run a marathon in less than two hours. They are increasingly looking more like flat earth theorists.

This is a unique period in the evolution of running where the seemingly impossible is now under threat. I have long believed that the barrier would be broken in my lifetime. Now, I firmly believe the person to break two hours has not only been born, but has probably already begun to train for the day.