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THE RUNNERS How do you measure someone's potential to do something that no one has ever

done before? Something that unequivocally changes the way we think of human ability?

These are the questions Nike's science team had to answer in finding the runners to challenge

the two-hour marathon mark. Bringing together the brightest minds in physiology, running and

athletic performance, the team developed a battery of tests to identify not just the world's

fastest runners, but those who could be even faster.


After the tests, three runners stood out as capable of breaking the two-hour barrier:

Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea.

Three different countries and three vastly different journeys were brought together to

find the fastest way to 26.2.

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ELIUD KIPCHOGE KENYA, AGE 32 ON RACE DAY Final time 2:00:25
On the day of the Breaking2 attempt, Eliud was the reigning Olympic gold

medallist in the men's marathon, and with seven first-place finishes in eight

career marathons, he's been widely considered one of the best marathoners

on the planet. His personal best time of 2:03:05, the third fastest time ever,

was set at the London Marathon in 2016.

"SCIENCE HAS HELPED REALISE MANY THINGS: ELECTRICITY, CARS, PLANES,
MOBILES, CAMERAS, SATELLITES"
—LELISA

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ZERSENAY TADESE ERITREA, AGE 35 ON RACE DAY Final time 2:06:51
Zersenay is a four-time Olympian and winner of five World Half Marathon

Championships. He is the world record holder in the men's half marathon

with a time of 58:23. Zersenay's running career began as a backup plan.

As a teenager, he was set on being a professional cyclist before being

pulled into competitive running by local athletic scouts.

"YOU KNOW, RUNNING IS ACTUALLY THINKING. IF YOUR THOUGHTS ARE HALFWAY THEN
YOU CAN'T FINISH, SO YOU REALLY NEED TO FOCUS FULLY AND THINK POSITIVELY."
—ELIUD

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LELISA DESISA ETHIOPIA, AGE 27 ON RACE DAY Final time 2:14:10
The youngest of the runners, Lelisa ran one of the fastest debut

marathon times ever with a 2:04:45 in the 2013 Dubai Marathon.

He's also won the Boston Marathon twice—in 2013 and 2015—and

holds a personal best half marathon time of 59:30.

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