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Exactly how fast is a sub-two-hour marathon?

Imagine running a 5K road race in 14:13. Now imagine you had to do it eight consecutive times (and then some)!

Nike Breaking2

Nike Breaking2

Running 1:59:59 for 42.195K — the distance of a marathon — is fast. Really, really fast!

RELATED: STREAM: Nike’s Breaking2 sub-two-hour marathon attempt

How fast exactly? We break it down for you:

  • Running 1:59:59 for 42.195K requires an average pace of 2:50/K or 4:34/mile…
  • That’s like running two half-marathons in 59:59.5. The current half-marathon world record is 58:23 set by Zersenay Tadese in 2010. The Canadian record is 1:01:28 set by Jeff Schiebler in 1999.
  • It’s also like running four (plus) consecutive 10Ks in 28:26. The current 10K (road) world record is 26:44 set by Leonard Patrick Komon in 2010. The Canadian record is 28:17 set by Paul McCloy in 1987.
  • It’s also like running eight (plus) consecutive 5Ks in 14:13. The current (track) 5,000m world record is 12:37.35 set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2004. The Canadian equivalent is 13:01.74 set by Mohammed Ahmed in 2016.
  • Not that you’d want to, but running a marathon in 1:59:59 would be like running 400m (one lap of a track) 105.5 times in 68 seconds a lap.
  • And for you sprinting fans, it would be like running the 100m dash 422 times in 17 seconds per 100m. Raise your hand if you can do that even once?!

Recall, the current marathon world record is 2:02:57 set by Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon. That impressive feat required an average pace of 2:55 minutes per kilometre or 4:41.5 per mile. To run 1:59:59 means bettering the current record by an astonishing 2 minutes and 58 seconds, an improvement of 2.4 per cent.


Will it happen? We’re about to find out!