Nike believes the best place to run a marathon is a Formula One track.
Nike’s bid to produce the first sub-two-hour marathon at a to-be-announced date this spring will take place at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, site of the Italian Grand Prix every September.
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.
“The course will be IAAF ratified and will meet to all marathon course requirements, including independently measured course distance, start versus finish location and course elevation. However, the actual attempt will not be an officially sanctioned world record,” the spokesperson said, according to the report. “We believe it will show the potential to break it and enable future official times to fall.”
The three runners tested the venue by running a half-marathon on Tuesday, with Kipchoge posting the fastest time of 59:17 or 59:18, depending on reports.
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.
Also Tuesday, Nike unveiled a new shoe for the marathon attempt that it says makes runners four percent more efficient. The IAAF said it will discuss in two weeks if the shoe is legal for official times, according to the Guardian.
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