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Nike picks fitting anniversary weekend for sub-2-hour marathon attempt

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Three men will set out to break the 2-hour marathon barrier on the first weekend in May, the 63-year anniversary of Roger Bannister becoming the first person to break 4 minutes in the mile.

Nike announced Tuesday the race window for its special sub-2 marathon attempt, which will take place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, site of the Italian Grand Prix every September.

Nike chose to announce a target “race window” weekend rather than a specific date. The race is closed to the public but will be live streamed. Bannister broke the 4-minute-mile barrier on May 6, 1954.

Three men, including Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, will take 17 and a half trips around a 1.5-mile loop. The course will be ratified by the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, but the attempt will not be for an officially sanctioned world record, according to the Guardian, citing a Nike spokesperson.

Nike said the asphalt surface near Milan has ideal temperature (54 degrees average), wind (2.6 miles per hour) and altitude (600 feet above sea level).

“Additionally, skies are typically overcast (minimizing heat load on the runners) and air currents don’t exhibit drastic directional shifts — thanks to the course being perfectly situated off shore and amid many trees,” Nike said in a press release.

The marathon world record is 2:02:57, set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. It took 16 years for the record to descend from 2:06:05 to sub-2:03.

Last month, Nike unveiled a new shoe for the marathon attempt that it says makes runners four percent more efficient. The IAAF said it would discuss if the shoe was legal for official times, according to the Guardian.

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World downhill champion Ilka Stuhec tears ACL

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Lindsey Vonn’s top rival for downhill gold is in danger of missing the upcoming Olympics.

Ilka Stuhec, a world champion Alpine skier from Slovenia, suffered a torn ACL after a practice crash in Austria this weekend.

Stuhec had become a strong medal favorite for PyeongChang after winning FIS World Cup titles in downhill and Alpine combined last season. She also won a gold medal in downhill at the 2017 World Championships, where Vonn placed third.

According to a post on the FIS website, surgery is set for this Wednesday, with more information to come after that. But preliminary reports suggest that she is likely to miss the Olympics.

“For now it looks like Ilka Stuhec will have to miss a large part or maybe the whole World Cup season, including the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea,” a spokesperson for Struhec told Reuters.

In a tweet, Struhec acknowledged that she would be sidelined “for a few months.”

The Olympics start in less than four months.

 

U.S. Ski & Snowboard mourns after 17-year-old aerials skier found dead

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Mikey Lillis, a 17-year-old aerials skier, died in his sleep at his home in East Rochester, N.Y., overnight Saturday, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

“We are a family, and as a family our entire team grieves for Mikey, his own family and his teammates,” U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw said in a statement. “We’ll remember him for the pathway he was following and the goals he was beginning to achieve. Our condolences go out to his parents Bernie and Jamie and the entire Lillis family.”

Lillis was working his way to join his two older brothers at the elite international level. He made three podiums on the Nor-Am Cup tour between the last two seasons.

Jon Lillis, 23, is the reigning world champion in aerials. Chris Lillis, 19, won the FIS Rookie of the Year award last season with four top-10 finishes on the World Cup.