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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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Bobby Joe Morrow, triple Olympic sprint champion, dies at 84

Bobby Joe Morrow
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Bobby Joe Morrow, one of four men to win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at one Olympics, died at age 84 on Saturday.

Morrow’s family said he died of natural causes.

Morrow swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, joining Jesse Owens as the only men to accomplish the feat. Later, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt did the same.

Morrow, raised on a farm in San Benito, Texas, set 11 world records in a short career, according to World Athletics.

He competed in one Olympics, and that year was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year while a student at Abilene Christian. He beat out Mickey Mantle and Floyd Patterson.

“Bobby had a fluidity of motion like nothing I’d ever seen,” Oliver Jackson, the Abilene Christian coach, said, according to Sports Illustrated in 2000. “He could run a 220 with a root beer float on his head and never spill a drop. I made an adjustment to his start when Bobby was a freshman. After that, my only advice to him was to change his major from sciences to speech, because he’d be destined to make a bunch of them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Johnny Gregorek runs fastest blue jeans mile in history

Johnny Gregorek
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Johnny Gregorek, a U.S. Olympic hopeful runner, clocked what is believed to be the fastest mile in history for somebody wearing jeans.

Gregorek recorded a reported 4 minutes, 6.25 seconds, on Saturday to break the record by more than five seconds (with a pacer for the first two-plus laps). Gregorek, after the record run streamed live on his Instagram, said he wore a pair of 100 percent cotton Levi’s.

Gregorek, the 28-year-old son of a 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic steeplechaser, finished 10th in the 2017 World Championships 1500m. He was sixth at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He ranked No. 1 in the country for the indoor mile in 2019, clocking 3:49.98. His outdoor mile personal best is 3:52.94, ranking him 30th in American history.

Before the attempt, a fundraiser was started for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, garnering more than $29,000. Gregorek ran in memory of younger brother Patrick, who died suddenly in March 2019.

“Paddy was a fan of anything silly,” Gregorek posted. “I think an all out mile in jeans would tickle him sufficiently!”

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