Quirks & Quarks

Can marathoners break the magical two hour barrier?

Science gives elite runners a boost as they attempt this near-impossible feat.
Athletes training in Kenya's renowned high-altitude village of Iten, which has emerged as the go-to training destination for the world's elite runners. (AFP/Getty Images)

May 6 is a special day for some running fans. It's the anniversary of the day that Roger Bannister first broke the four-minute mile, 63 years ago. 

It's not surprising that May 6 was also chosen as the date to try to break another running 'milestone.' 

Nike is sponsoring what they're calling the 'Breaking 2' race: an attempt to do a near-impossible feat:  running a full marathon in under two hours. The current record is 2:02:57, set by Kenyan runner Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. That's a huge time margin in marathon terms.

Dr. Wouter Hoogkamer thinks science can make a big difference. He's a marathoner himself, but he's also worked out what it might take to break the two-hour barrier in a recently published paper in Sports MedicineHow Biomechanical Improvements in Running Economy Could Break the 2-hour Marathon Barrier

Can science help break the 2-hour marathon barrier?

6 years ago
Duration 1:00
Can science help break the 2-hour marathon barrier?