Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge, Rio gold medalist, training to break two-hour marathon mark in 2017

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The reigning Olympic marathon champion has teamed with Nike for Breaking2, an attempt to run 26.2 miles in under two hours.

In the official press release, Nike referred to the project as “an innovation moonshot designed to unlock human potential.”

Over the past two years, WIRED and Runner’s World reports, Nike has dedicated a team of scientists, coaches, designers and statisticians to breaking the two-hour marathon barrier. According to WIRED, the Breaking2 team is “working to address every single factor that might slow the runners down. They’re looking at the aerodynamic properties of running apparel; pacing strategies of world-class runners as well as what they eat and how they train; the look, size, and feel of racing shoes; even the environment and shape of the track.”

Nike has recruited three top athletes for the project: Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, a three-time Olympic medalist who won gold in the men’s marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics; Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese, who holds the half marathon world record and also won a bronze medal in the 10,000m at the Athens Olympics; and Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa, a two-time Boston Marathon winner.

Tadese told Runner’s World, “I know one day [two hours] will be broken. I want to be part of it.”

The current world record, set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya at the Berlin Marathon in Sept. 2014, is 2:02:57.

Kipchoge’s personal best time is 2:03:05, notched at the 2015 London Marathon. His winning time in Rio was 2:09:54.

It’s expected that the Breaking2 team will not attempt to break the two-hour mark during a traditional marathon. Instead, Kipchoge, Tadese and Desisa will likely race on a specially-designed course that’s closed to the public.

The special marathon is reportedly planned for spring 2017, with the exact date and location yet to be announced.

Nike hasn’t addressed whether their attempt at breaking the world record will be sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

“At the end of the day, we just want to show it can be done,” Nike’s VP of Footwear Innovation, Tony Bignall, told Runner’s World. “We want to show that it’s within the capability of human physiology.”

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USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today, a report that USA Hockey would not confirm.

U.S. captain Meghan Duggan has said every player in the U.S. national team player pool, plus under-18 national team players, committed to not playing at worlds unless the wage dispute is resolved.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. They met formally on Monday for more than 10 hours, with both sides calling it productive.

Neither side has said when its next scheduled meeting will take place.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey said it postponed a pre-worlds camp that was to run through next Tuesday in Traverse City, Mich., and canceled a scheduled Friday exhibition against Finland.

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NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

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International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

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