Since the marathon distance was finally established at 26 miles, 385 yards following the 1908 London Olympics, there have been 45 new men’s marathon world records set. In that time the mark has dropped from 2:55:18 to 2:03:59, a 30-plus per cent drop in 103 years. With the 2011 spring marathon season upon us Haile Gebrselassie’s 2008 world record 2:03:59 will once again come under fire. Will it withstand another series of challenges?
The last two world records set in the U.S.A. came in Chicago, Welshman Steve Jones ran 2:08:05 in 1984, and Morocco’s Khalid Khannouchi posted his 2:05:48 in 1999. Since then, the record has been the province of Berlin, with Paul Tergat’s 2:04:55 in 2003, then Haile Gebrselassie’s 2:04:26 in 2007 and his current 2:03:59 in 2008.
What factors, then, and in what order, are necessary to achieve a world record marathon? (more…)