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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