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posted by martyb on Monday October 13 2014, @12:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the probably-just-under-two-hours dept.

Alex Hutchinson writes at Runner's World that runners have cut the distance to the sub-two-hour marathon in half since 1998, but it will get progressively harder to trim the remaining seconds. Still, the physiologists tell us that it’s not impossible, meaning it is possible. Hutchinson says it will take several things: a cold day in March or November; a straight, flat course that is mind-numbingly boring; pacemakers who will shepherd leaders around the course cutting the wind and setting the pace; and a runner with a frame of about 5'6", weight of about 120 pounds, and towering self-confidence.

The road is so flat and straight, you can see them coming from a mile away. Six runners flow in arrowhead formation around the Canadian city of Saskatoon. The early November air is still and dry, the sky overcast, and the temperature hovers a bit above freezing, just as predicted. All in their early 20s, they’ve been training together for this moment for years; only in the last month did their coach select which three will go for the record. The remaining three form the front of the arrowhead, blocking the wind and enduring the mental effort of controlling the pace. Should one of them cross the finish line in two hours—or faster—all six will share equally in the $50 million jackpot promised by the heirs to the Hoka One One fortune. The pot of money is up for grabs, for any runner, anywhere in the world. The chase is on. So, will they make it? And what year is this?

I’m saying the year is...2075—and they make it.

Related Stories

Two Hour Marathon Run *Almost* Achieved 31 comments

We've previously discussed the possibility of running a two hour marathon (with much of the usual wit in this thread). For a comparison against running one mile in four minutes, running at the pace of a five minute mile would be too slow. Like running a mile in four minutes, people said running a marathon in two hours was impossible. However, it is looking very possible with advanced footwear and suchlike. Specifically, Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge was within 0.4% of this goal. Variously reported as being 25 seconds or 26 second too slow, his effort is an unofficial world record.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:03PM (#105523)

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hahmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. OH, I KNOW! Whoever accomplishes this will have to run very fast, so that they cover 26 miles and 385 yards in less than 2 hours. That's what it will take.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @03:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @03:54PM (#105596)

      26 miles and 385 yards

      You Americans with your impractical units of measure.

      A Marathon is 42 km, plain and simple. And easy to remember for any Douglas Adams fan. ;-)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @04:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @04:07PM (#105606)

        The Metric system didn't even exist until the 1700s. The Ancient Greeks, who created the marathon, used the Imperial system (then called the Aristotic system, after its creator, Aristotles). They measured the exact distance between Athens and the village of Marathon, and it was exactly 26 miles and 385 yards. Any other measurement is not a true marathon distance.

        • (Score: 2) by LoRdTAW on Monday October 13 2014, @07:49PM

          by LoRdTAW (3755) on Monday October 13 2014, @07:49PM (#105687) Journal

          So, 4.2194988E14 Angstroms is unacceptable?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:52AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:52AM (#105871)

          Ah, and the old Greek already used American measures?

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Marand on Monday October 13 2014, @01:05PM

    by Marand (1081) on Monday October 13 2014, @01:05PM (#105526) Journal

    What will it Take to Run a Two-Hour Marathon?

    About two hours.

    .

    .

    .

    (Please don't hurt me)

    • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Monday October 13 2014, @01:14PM

      by opinionated_science (4031) on Monday October 13 2014, @01:14PM (#105531)

      I'd be happy with 4 hours, but then I'm not that good a runner.

      Physiologically, shaving the 8 minutes off the record, really comes down to about 18 secs/mile quick for an average of 4.6 min/miles - that is moving some!!

      • (Score: 2) by ticho on Monday October 13 2014, @01:44PM

        by ticho (89) on Monday October 13 2014, @01:44PM (#105543) Homepage Journal

        Heck, I'd be happy to finish one, having only ran half-marathons until now. Going to attempt it next year finally.

        Kudos to whoever breaks the 2-hours mark.

      • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday October 13 2014, @01:46PM

        by cafebabe (894) on Monday October 13 2014, @01:46PM (#105544) Journal

        I'll take your four and I'll raise it. I'd be happy with a six hour marathon. I'm fit and healthy but I've previously walked five miles, arrived with an injured ankle and I had no idea how it occurred. If that happened at the beginning of a 26 mile walk, I'd be screwed.

        Working backwards, a six hour marathon requires an average speed of 4.3MPH. A four hour marathon requires an average speed of 6.5MPH. But a two hour marathon requires an average speed of 13MPH. That's insane! I'm certainly not at the level where one thinks nothing of a four mile run [bash.org] but I jog slower than that! And I stop after 10 minutes!

        --
        1702845791×2
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @02:11PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @02:11PM (#105558)

          That link says it's at bash.org. Is that site safe to visit? Will my computer get a shellshock if I click on that link?

          • (Score: 2) by strattitarius on Monday October 13 2014, @04:20PM

            by strattitarius (3191) on Monday October 13 2014, @04:20PM (#105613) Journal

            Unfortunately, I have seen comments like that floating around the web and a few idiots that claim to be in IT helping spread the FUD.

            --
            Slashdot Beta Sucks. Soylent Alpha Rules. News at 11.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @04:25PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @04:25PM (#105615)

              It's no wonder normal people hate you sysadmins.

              First you tell your users that Linux and GNU software and bash are all really secure. Then a very serious bug is found in bash that makes it obvious that it's not secure at all.

              Then you tell your users to be cautious, and to ask you first before using any software that might be risky. So they do just that, asking you about something suspicious (the name "bash" is now forever linked with the concepts of bugs and insecurity), and you berate them for asking!

              Make up your mind, please! Don't tell users contradictory info!

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @07:54PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @07:54PM (#105689)

                Jesus christ. How dumb are you? He was addressing the question that the AC poster above asked which is clearly poking fun at bash.org. Oh, right you are a fucking troll too. Go die under a rock, troll.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @10:19PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @10:19PM (#105742)

                  I see your one-week vacation didn't do you any good, Tork. You're still such an angry soul.

          • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday October 13 2014, @06:54PM

            by cafebabe (894) on Monday October 13 2014, @06:54PM (#105673) Journal

            bash.org has humorous exchanges from chatlogs upvoted in the style of Reddit.

            The first joke, related to running, is as follows [bash.org]:-

            yetiamchosen: So the only part about this curse of recruiting potentials for the marine corps that isn't utterly miserable is fucking with the people that have already signed up. Now, we don't want to scare them off entirely, so we can't just sit there and be like, "You're going to die in bootcamp!" But we can be completely insane with each other in front of them, and let them draw that conclusion on their own. So we're told to take the poolees on a 1.5 mile run today. No staff nco's there, so we're like, "Fuckit. There's two recruits, there's eight of us ... four mile run." So we start running and I had just had a monster energy drink, the lo ball kind, which is red. That's a dumbass's recipe for disaster, but I really wanted one so I had one anyway. It dehydrates you, gives you cramps, and makes you puke. So we've been running like half a mile and without breaking pace I casually puke onto the side of the road, and keep running. Among marines this is normal behavior, so no one even says anything, but the recuruit is looking like, "Wtf, did that guy just puke without stopping?"
            geekryan: lol
            yetiamchosen: And he's like, "Dude! Are you alright!" I'm like, "KEEP RUNNING!" and I speed up a little bit, chuckling inside. And then it really hits me and I'm like, going full speed, just hurling all over the side of the road, wiping my mouth, running, hurling and he looks at the puke and he goes, "OH MY GOD ARE YOU PUKING BLOOD!"
            geekryan: HAHAHAHA
            yetiamchosen: And I go, "THAT'S NOT BLOOD IT'S CONFIDENCE AAAAGGGHHHHH!!!" And I just blast off like a little red streaming rocket ship. I look behind me and this kid seriously look like he's just about to piss his pants, like, "Oh my god, what the fuck have I gotten myself into?" I got up to the front and this marine looks at me and goes, "Were you really puking up blood?" I'm like, "No devil, it's monster," and he just laughs, he's like, "You're going to hell."
            yetiamchosen: That's it. I was chuckling inside all the way home.
            geekryan: that really is awesome
            geekryan: I can't imagine how freaked out that recruit was
            yetiamchosen: I hope he doesn't sleep well again until he gets to boot camp.

            And the bonus joke is as follows [bash.org]:-

            I mean, we started 2 nights before, recruiting strippers to show up
            things got out of hand, and we end up with 10 kegs, and who knows how many imported sluts
            I'm not talking tundra wookies
            I mean, decent-looking chicks
            they'd ranks a 6 or 7 here, but are fucking TEN in alaska
            party goes awesome
            don't catch any of the game
            we all pass out by about 3 am
            first call is at 6 am
            and being professional alcoholics, we rigged the central firealarm to go off 10 minutes before first call
            well, we all wake up to the fire alarm, clean the shithole up, then go down to PT formation
            just expecting a 10-mile detox run or something gay like that
            1SG says we're having a health and welfare inspection
            where he goes through everbody's room and fucks you up for anything that's out of place
            well... we had 10 empty kegs and a buncha passed out whores in our building...
            not to mention the little shit like bottle caps and whatnot
            thank GOD he went to consolidated barracks first, so we had about an hour to get everything cleaned up
            you wanna talk about a buncha men working as a team...
            we had the buffer going, you heard nothing but vacuums, sweeping, mopping, and calls for the medic to get a hooker with an IV
            pure mayhem
            we get all the sluts out of our own rooms, and since the dayroom only had a little bit of furniture and we can work on it together, we all hit it at once
            well...there was one chick left over
            still passed out, topless in a leather skirt
            when we heard CQ on the first floor call "AT EASE!"
            fucking panic
            Aubaugh, being the smart crazy jew he was, stole a buncha rappelling gear from mountaineering
            tied her passed-out ass up in a swiss-seat
            (mind you, she was wearing JUST a skirt, and a swiss seat goes between the legs)
            tie the 120 to the center pillar, tied her figure 8 off in a bowline, and pushed her out the window
            she hung there for FORTY FIVE FUCKING MINUTES
            We pass the inspection
            BUT
            as 1SG was walking out of the barracks, he walked around the outside looking for cigarette butts and caught us hauling her naked ass back in the window...
            Fail
            we had such a good chance to get away with it...
            man was that a long week for charlie company, 2-1 infantry

        • (Score: 1) by number6x on Monday October 13 2014, @10:23PM

          by number6x (903) on Monday October 13 2014, @10:23PM (#105744)

          Don't think of it as 26.1 miles at 13 mph, think of it as 26 consecutive sub-5 minute miles!

          I think about a 4:35 minute:second pace for 2 hours straight should get you under 2 hours. That is comparable to sprinting, but for 2 hours. It boggles my mind to run that fast for 2 hours. I am beat after running 45 minutes at a relatively sedate 6.5 mph on a treadmill!

          Usain Bolt was clocked at 27.79 mph [bleacherreport.com] for 20 meters of a 100 meter run. If he could accelerate to that speed instantaneously, and maintain that speed for 56 minutes and 21 seconds, he would be able to run a sub-1 hour marathon!

    • (Score: 2) by Marand on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:08PM

      by Marand (1081) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:08PM (#105898) Journal

      haha, I got modded Informative by someone? I find that one pretty confusing. I thought it would be painfully obvious I was just being a wise-ass, what with the beat and the "please don't hurt me" at the end.

      I think I'll just convince myself it was a misclick and the person was really going for +1 Funny.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:08PM (#105527)

    Canada Geese fly in a V pattern over long distances when they migrate south. I know this, because they fly over my home in Kansas, and shit all over the place, including on me.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:29PM (#105534)

      At least they only stay for a few mins. Mine stay for months and eat my yard and leave a carpet of geese shit everywhere. Then dont go near them as they puff up and charge at you.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @01:54PM (#105547)

        Well when I got pooped on by the Canada geese I was lying down on my picnic table resting after doing some yard work. I saw the flock fly overhead, and about 4 or 5 seconds later I felt something hit my cheek and heard a couple of other thuds of something hitting the picnic table. It was goose shit. If my mouth had been open, I would have had a big piece of goose shit on my tonsils!

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday October 13 2014, @03:43PM

      by Nerdfest (80) on Monday October 13 2014, @03:43PM (#105592)

      On behalf of Canadians ... sorry.

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday October 13 2014, @05:28PM

        by Gaaark (41) on Monday October 13 2014, @05:28PM (#105651) Journal

        I'd like to say you don't speak for all Canadians, but that would be terribly rude.

        Sorry.

        Please continue...

        ...unless you are really Stephen Harper, then GTFO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please! Just please move to the States and suck on Obama from up close. Seriously, just GTFO. I think Rob Ford would do a better job.

        Removes sarcasm-truth delivery helmet.
        :)
        Seriously.

        (Sorry for the language. Sorry.)

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
  • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday October 13 2014, @01:13PM

    by cafebabe (894) on Monday October 13 2014, @01:13PM (#105528) Journal

    I thought about this problem briefly; possibly while AFK [soylentnews.org]. There are comparisons to the four minute mile. However, there was far less expectation about achieving a four minute mile to the extent that many "experts" said that it was impossible. Apparently, many people were able to achieve a four minute mile shortly after the first person achieved it. So, the main limitation seemed to be mental. The difference with a two hour marathon is that it is deemed inevitable and therefore the pressure to attain it is circular. This may significantly prolong the endeavor.

    --
    1702845791×2
  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday October 13 2014, @01:19PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Monday October 13 2014, @01:19PM (#105532) Journal

    No steroids, no genetic engineering?

    Come on, we can do this in 1 hour, 40 minutes.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @08:54AM (#105872)

      Why steroids or genetic engineering, if you can easily beat that time with a normal car?

  • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Monday October 13 2014, @01:49PM

    by RamiK (1813) on Monday October 13 2014, @01:49PM (#105545)

    $50 million in 2075? pfft... Following 1953-2014 inflation of 790% those $50 million will be worth about $5.62 million. Divided by 6 runner and coach...

    Then again, my magic 8 ball says buying gold is a good investment and it had better projections then any economic model I ever seen...

    --
    compiling...
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday October 13 2014, @02:57PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday October 13 2014, @02:57PM (#105570)

      Still, runners gonna run, what else would they do, so if they're going to do it anyway...

      I suspect they'll make a lot of money off celebrity product endorsements.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @03:03PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 13 2014, @03:03PM (#105571)

    Two miles an hour plus stops for lunch and snacks.

  • (Score: 1) by andersjm on Monday October 13 2014, @03:42PM

    by andersjm (3931) on Monday October 13 2014, @03:42PM (#105590)
    Because science, bitches! [blogspot.dk]
    • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:42AM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Tuesday October 14 2014, @11:42AM (#105889) Homepage
      There's no strong justification for linear extrapolation (his sampling explanation is highly bogus, you might say that we've sampled nearly the whole planet already - name one country unaware of long distance running events, and the ones who are more predisposed to being good at the event are already self-sampling), so the linked prediction of 2043 (not 2041) is probably an under-estimate.
      --
      I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
      • (Score: 1) by andersjm on Tuesday October 14 2014, @03:17PM

        by andersjm (3931) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @03:17PM (#105958)

        That's what I thought, too, when I was a third into the article. Then I read the rest.

        The extrapolation is not based on some imagined increase in the ratio of the world's population being tested. It's based on global population growth.

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday October 13 2014, @04:10PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Monday October 13 2014, @04:10PM (#105607)

    Which definition of the second and the mile are you using for this?
    If you put enough cash on the table, I'm sure we can get these guys to redefine the second for a short window of time... They do it every few decades anyway.

    Since this goal is to hit "arbitrary distance in abitrary round number of units", it's less effort to work on the unit side:
    I'll move to North Korea, I'm sure Fatty Kim can define the hour to be 10000 seconds while I'm running. Or define "running" as the operation of a motorcycle. He's known for his great sport records, he'll help a fellow sportsman in need.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday October 13 2014, @06:48PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 13 2014, @06:48PM (#105672) Journal

      Its not just the units, the article mixes concepts of time and distance.

      The first sentence in the summary still has me reeling:

      runners have cut the distance to the sub-two-hour marathon in half since 1998

      So wouldn't that mean the course is getting shorter (by half), and therefore the runners are slower?

      --
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  • (Score: 2) by strattitarius on Monday October 13 2014, @04:39PM

    by strattitarius (3191) on Monday October 13 2014, @04:39PM (#105625) Journal

    a runner with a frame of about 5'6", weight of about 120 pounds

    And everyone thought you had to be short to be able to turn over more steps to get to max speed faster to run a sub 10 second 100 meter dash. And then Usain Bolt came along and destroyed everyone's preconceived notion of what a sprinter should look like.

    Also, they probably won't be in the young 20's. Men in general physically peak around 27-28. Marathoners tend to average slightly higher. This might be due to other factors than physical peak - time to train for such a long even is a hypothesis. Heck you can't run a competitive race in HS over 3 miles long.

    --
    Slashdot Beta Sucks. Soylent Alpha Rules. News at 11.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:02AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @12:02AM (#105767)

      Not just for endurance athletes either. Strength athletes don't peak until their thirties, taking that long a time to build enough muscle mass to be competitive at the highest levels.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @03:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 14 2014, @03:46PM (#105965)

    So, to do it you'll need a small army of sacrificial pacesetters to not only keep the pace, but to provide a wind block. And when this happens this will be hailed as a magnificent individual accomplishment, breaking the unbreakable 2-hour barrier! Yawn.

  • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Tuesday October 14 2014, @03:59PM

    by tonyPick (1237) on Tuesday October 14 2014, @03:59PM (#105969) Homepage Journal