Tag: Roger Bannister

KIPCHOGE ANNOUNCES SUB-TWO 2.0

The clock is ticking, or at least liquid crystals are silently reforming. And with that inexorable progress, time is running short for Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge – as it is for all of us now, all who came before, and all who may come after.

At age 34 (5 Nov. 1984) the marathon world record holder and 2016 Olympic champion has no time to waste. We are only in our prime for so long. Thus, even as the 2:02;37 effort from London this April 28th still lingers, Mr. Kipchoge  is already planning another assault on the sub-2 hour marathon. for this fall

This new attempt will not take place in Berlin, the Abbott World Marathon Major where the last six men’s world marathon records have been set – including Eliud’s 2:01:39 last September.  Instead, Kipchoge will attack sub-2 at a special event staged somewhere in London sponsored by INEOS, a large London-based manufacturer that has recently entered into the world of sporting sponsorship by taking over cycling‘s Team Sky.

It was in the spring of 2017 that Kipchoge first attempted to run sub – two. That effort was conducted on a Formula One race track in Monza, Italy that was closed to the public. The production was famously staged by Eliud’s shoe company sponsor Nike.

That attempt came tantalizingly close to its historic goal, just 26 seconds shy of the magical sub-2 mark. However, his finishing time of 2:00:25 was not record-eligible because the event used a rotating squad of pacers when  only pacers who start with the record attempter are deemed valid.

The understanding is that for this 2019 attempt in London, Kipchoge will again be set up behind a phalanx of rotating pacers. (more…)

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ASSESSING WOMEN’S MILESTONES

There is an interesting article in Outside Magazine online penned by Sally Bergesen, founder of Oiselle, the Seattle-based women’s athletic apparel company, asking where are the female equivalents of the sub-four minute mile or the sub-two hour marathon? (Article)

“How are our own benchmarks so unfamiliar?” she asks rhetorically.

Her conclusion, in part, is that “the dearth of women’s milestones and tradition is a result of our relatively recent entry into competitive sports.”

I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment, but perhaps in that understanding there is another way to look at the underlying question.

What if there have already been such women barrier breakers, but since women’s athletics have only in recent times come into the spotlight, we missed them in their own day? (more…)

SUB2 PACK FORMS UP

Like the murmur of far off hooves that rises from a distance on a tailing breeze the Sub Two Hour marathon quest became a lot more audible this past week.

First, Nike’s Project Breaking2 was publicly announced on Monday 12 December with a goal of breaking the 120 minute mark this coming spring. Two years in the making (though secretly) and featuring three of the world’s top distance runners, Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, and Eritrean Zersenay Tadese, the project still remains somewhat hazy in its particulars as if the announcement came in haste to pip the Adidas announcement, which showed up later in the week via the Wall Street Journal.  Nike’s joint announcement through Runners World and Wired. com arrived as the second entry in the sub2 quest, coming on the heels of University of Brighton sports science professor Yannis Pitsiladis‘ 2014 Sub2Hr Project, which is affiliated with top running agent Jos Hermens.  That project carries a stated five year time frame, but is still searching for full funding.

So, now there are three going for a sub2 over 42km, and you know, we may finally have something here after all.  Perhaps something ironic, in that none of the three projects are using actual runner competition as the mechanism to 1:59:59 or below. Instead, like in the days of  Wes Santee, John Landy, and Roger Bannister, who independently pursued the sub-4 minute mile in the late 1940s, early `50s, it will be through the three-way project chase itself that the Everest marathon mark may be reached.  But that shouldn’t come as a surprise.  This blog has written on the topic of competition vs. record setting before. And again here. (more…)

FROM ROGER BANNISTER TO CALIFORNIA CHROME

California Chrome wins the 140th Kentucky Derby
California Chrome wins the 140th Kentucky Derby

The day before last Sunday’s Wings For Life World Run, our broadcast production team met up in the hotel bar in Sunrise, Florida to watch the 140th Kentucky Derby.  To ratchet up our interest we each ante upped $5 then blindly pulled a number to give us something to hang our hearts on.  Even the bartender got in on the act.

Then, amidst various hoots and hollers, we watched 2-1 betting favorite California Chrome pull away down the stretch to earn Churchill Downs famous the blanket of roses.  Juli Benson and her husband Bob had the #5 horse, and graciously accepted the $45 first-place jackpot. My 35-1 long-shot Commanding Curve closed like a David Mamet salesman with good leads to place second, bringing me a $22 dollar payoff.

In the aftermath of the race, however, folks on the other side of the bar asked about the winning time.

“2:03.66,” I reported taking a pull from my decidedly non-Kentucky libation. “Four-seconds off the Derby record set by Secretariat in his 1973 Triple Crown year.”

Why so slow, they wanted to know? That’s an interesting question, actually, especially on a day on which we commemorate history’s first sub-4:00 mile.

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Bannister on his way to history's first sub-4:00 mile
Bannister on his way to history’s first sub-4:00 mile

Of course, some of how any race plays out has to do with conditions and the size of the field. In this year’s Derby there  was a backstretch headwind along with 19-ponies stretched across the race track in search of a clean line.  In Oxford, England on May 6, 1954 there was a dying breeze and only seven runners on the Iffley Road track for the mile contest pitting three Oxford men against four British AAA runners.

Another factor in racing has to do with the strategy of the race itself.   In the Derby, as in all the Triple Crown races, time is immaterial, as place is all that counts.  For Bannister’s record attempt the strategy was all about producing the time, and he was assisted by two pacesetters, Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher who towed him through three of the event’s four laps.

In Saturday’s Derby California Chrome stayed close to the pace in striking position before coming free in the final furlong.  Even so, looking at the long list of Derby champions and their winning times, one thing becomes quite clear. While the human mile record has plummeted over sixteen seconds since Sir Roger’s 3:59.4 in 1954, the time it takes a handsomely muscled thoroughbred to gallop the 1.25-mile Kentucky Derby distance hasn’t seemed to budge at all. (more…)

‘BRING BACK THE MILE’ LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN

    
     Bring Back the Mile Launches National campaign to elevate and celebrate the iconic distance.
The Mile holds a special place in Track & Field and beyond. No running distance, or field event for that matter, has the history, the appeal, the “magic” of the Mile. The first sub-4 minute mile by Great Britain’s Roger Bannister in 1954 is regarded as the greatest individual athletic achievement of the 20th century, and no other event has produced an equivalent of the sub-4 minute mile standard in the sport, in the media and in the public’s mind. Unfortunately, the Mile has lost some of its luster over the past decade, especially at the High School level where the 1600 meters is run, 9 meters short of a Mile. Today, the ‘Bring Back the Mile’ campaign is being introduced at: www.bringbackthemile.com.
Our Bring Back the Mile mission is simple: To return the Mile to prominence on the American sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a national movement. Visit www.bringbackthemile.com and let’s Bring Back the Mile! Thank you.
The Bring Back the Mile Support Team media@bringbackthemile.com