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first_imgShortcuts Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Athletics Reuse this content Marathon running Share on Pinterest Topicscenter_img features Marathon Share via Email Share on Messenger Since you’re here… … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Facebook On Sunday, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge obliterated the marathon world record by over a minute, running a time of 2 hours 1 minute and 39 seconds in Berlin. To anyone who has ever attempted to run 26.2 miles, that is insanely fast.How did he do it?He started off at a blistering pace, leaving his rivals trailing in his dust right from the start, and running the first 5km (a parkrun) in 14 minutes 24 seconds. He then sped up. He ran the second half of the race – when most people slow down because, you know, they are getting tired – in 60:34, a time only two Britons have ever run in a half marathon race.How close are we to seeing someone run a marathon run in under two hours? /sport/2017/may/15/the-recap-sign-up-for-the-best-of-the-guardians-sport-coverage In perfect conditions in a time trial set up by Nike in 2017 (and not eligible for world records), Kipchoge ran a marathon in just over two hours (2:00:25). What he showed in Berlin is that he can do something similar in a real race. To run fast, pacemakers – who run ahead and set the pace – are crucial. In Berlin, Kipchoge’s pacemakers dropped out after 15 miles, leaving him to run the last 11 miles alone. Finding a pacemaker to stay with him further into the race would be a big help, but very few people in the world can keep up with him beyond 15 miles.Without doubt Kipchoge is the greatest marathon runner ever, and it was interesting to note how fresh he looked after finishing on Sunday – he even seemed to speed up after crossing the line as he ran to embrace his coach. He certainly didn’t look like he had run to the very edge of his limit.What is the human limit for running a marathon?The marathon world record has been broken five times in the past 10 years, with over two minutes being chopped off the time. In a famous research paper in 1991, Dr Michael Joyner predicted the absolute human limit to be 1 hour 58 minutes. At the time – with the world record at 2:06:50 – that seemed a ridiculous prediction and sparked heated debate in the running world. After Kipchoge’s heroics on Sunday, suddenly it doesn’t seem so far fetched.last_img


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