Thoughts on Nike Breaking2

nike breaking 21
Some call it a rigged race, some call it Nike’s stunt to sell more shoes but nevertheless what we got to witness last night is a well coordinated science experiment to aid a runner to run fast. In my opinion it was to push the human limit, but to aid it with right parameters to see how many more seconds can we push the limit of marathon time. Nike Breaking2 team missed the mark by 25 seconds. But we also got to see them breaking the world record (not officially as this race wasn’t accounted for world record) – by 2min 32 seconds. Did they miss it? I don’t think so. What they set out to do, in aiming for the stars they did land on the moon for sure! How realistic is this time? Will these runners run the same time in another race? That is highly questionable. It wasn’t just hydration or fuel or shoes that they altered for this experiment, it was everything. 
Just to name, a few, following key things were taken into account in keeping the pace as fast they could push.
  1. personalized race-day hydration strategy
  2. customized carbohydrate fluid mixture
  3. Team of 30 world class pacers
  4. best formation of pacers to block the wind based on computational fluid dynamics and aerodynamics modeling
  5. start time for optimal weather
  6. Runner’s running clothes designed with customized weight, fit, comfort, fatigue and grip based on body scan data.
  7. A race course picked for its desirable sea level of 183m + a preferred asphalt road surface which is also flat with no banked corners to aid with the speed.

I am pretty sure lot of the science that went into this experiment can and will be made it to products available to common runners in due course, helping everyone to reap such benefits, but I don’t ever thing we will have a road race with 30 pacers, forming a triangle to keep the wind of the lead runner happening any time.

It must feel great to run that speed, but I also wonder what goes through the runners mind in running this race to break 2, but even if one did, doesn’t account to stand next to a world record. I also didn’t see lot of spectators, and lot of real marathon stories, its the spectators that aid the energy of the runners, so not sure how that was accounted for! The most exciting thing the runners would have gotten to see on the side of the course would have been Kevin Hart – about 17 times!

It was amazing to see such a well thought out, executed experiment to take place in our life time, and for us to witness it and to see the human limit being pushed further by science! But I think last night’s race also shows how, everyone that shows up to a road race, that bring their own nutrition plan and embark on a 26.2 mile journey on their own will, with the trust in their training plan, in their running singlets that if you  like me, probably bought on sale at a outlet mall – can relate to missing a 25second and not seeing our ‘magical PR time’ of either sub 4hr for marathon or Sub 2hr for a half marathon. The spirit of Running is the same – to each of us that show up and run. I am sure Eliud Kipchoge felt the same way as missing a 1:59:59 by 25 seconds , as any of us would have felt, missing that for a sub2 time at a half marathon!

As common runner, that run a turkey trot and Halloween half marathons, we still get to keep our own records in our head and each of us do, we do show up to push that record one second at a time, and that experience is same as the Nike’s experiment! Eventually we will succeed! Does it mean something – that we broke our own goals? not to the world. Just like Nike’s race wouldn’t have made it to world record even if they broke the goal, but it means something personally to the Nike team, and I am sure each of our own records whether its 30min 5k record or 2hr half marathon record that we trying to break – is our own and it means to Us! Like my running buddy Victor Hurtado would say – “Let’s keep working hard so we can keep improving!” – Same goes to Nike team. Keep working hard and show us what we humans could push our limit to!

Happy Running!


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