Ministry of Sport

Nike Helps Eliud Kipchoge Break Marathon’s Two-Hour Barrier With Shoe Innovation

Eliud Kipchoge is not a name that many are familiar with, but, after his historic sub-two-hour marathon run in Vienna on Saturday, running 42.195 kilometres in 1:59:40, it has the world talking about his feat and the Nike shoes that made it possible.

Running a marathon in less than two hours is a feat of humanity that had for a long time seemed impossible and although the use of rolling pacemakers and the race not being an open event, meant it will not count as an official world record, it is, however, a moment in history that Kipchoge likened to the late Sir Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile barrier in 1954.

It is a moment that has also drawn attention to the future edition of Nike’s NEXT% marathon shoe that Kipchoge was wearing and the significant improvement to performance it supposedly brings with it.

Nike, who sponsors Kipchoge and manufactures the shoes he wears, has previously claimed the bespoke model worn by their star athlete can improve performance by 4 per cent.

In true Nike fashion, the attention on the shoes during the Vienna event almost attracted as much media exposure as Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt itself.

While the pursuit of  ‘anything is possible’ fuels his training, Kipchoge has also become an important voice in fueling the future of running’s technical engineering.

For the past five years, Kipchoge has offered astute feedback on the full gamut of Nike’s running footwear — from Free to Epic React and Pegasus to Vomero and most importantly, he’s been leading each iterative advance of Nike’s NEXT% range.

The symbiosis between Kipchoge and the Nike Sports Research Lab (NSRL) manifested itself in his brilliant performance in Vienna and will lead to the continued pursuit of science-led innovations that push the limits of performance running.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney