The Sub Two-Hour marathon is not far away

Patrick Makau holds the world record marathon time

The current world record for the mile is 3:43:13 and is held by 37-year-old Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj. There was a time when a sub-four mile was considered unrealistic.

The fastest men’s marathon run to date, with wind, is 2:03:02. Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai (who also just won New York with a new course record of 2/5/6) did it last spring in Beantown. But since Boston’s course design renders it ineligible for official running records, 2:03:38 remains the fastest marathon run to date, courtesy of Kenya’s Patrick Makau at this year’s Berlin Marathon.

Most likely, a runner will break three hours long before it can be considered official. It will happen in an obscure race with favorable wind conditions and questionable timing devices, probably by someone who isn’t a “real runner,” someone who doesn’t train to win races but rather just focused themselves on that record.

It will happen though, and probably within the next ten years. In 2001, Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Jifar set the New York Marathon’s course record with 2/7/43. It took ten years to shave more than two minutes after no one came closer to the record than 24 seconds. In fact, just two years later, a time of 2/10/30 broke the ribbon.

By examining the times, we see that the record for New York was never gradually worn down, it’s almost always, to exercise an apt cliche, “shattered.” For example, Mutai’s time this year was more than three minutes faster than last year’s finisher. In 2001, Jifar beat the 2000 winner by a little over two minutes.

If we consider that advancements in training, nutrition and equipment will progress faster in the next decade than they did in the last, it’s feasible that it could happen in the next five years. Truthfully, I’m not overly sold on how shoes will make a difference at this level.

So we now sit at 2:03:38. When this official time is surpassed, it may bring us to just above the threshold, probably around 2:01 something. Maybe we’ll sit for a few years just around the two hour mark, at which point every major marathon in the world will become the center of the running universe.

And I’ll just be happy to run a sub-4:00.




And the new Boston Marathon record is …

2010 Mens and Womens Elite Winners of the Boston Marathon.

Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya and and Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia

2 hours, 5 minutes, 52 seconds run by Boston Marathon winners Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya.

Good lord. My hammies are angry at me for just typing that.

I knew it was a good day for a run. Congrats to the winners and all who finished, didn’t finish, participated and volunteered.

The big one goes today

Boston Marathon Finish Line

It all ends here.

The Boston Marathon is today. The conditions are ideal for a record run. Partly cloudy, low 40s. Awesome.

You can watch the race online.

The first athletes take off at 9:00 a.m. followed in waves every few minutes until 10:30, when wave 2 heads out to complete the start. Elite Women and Men cross the start at 9:32 and 10:00, respectively.

I’ve never run the Boston marathon but it does remain one of those outside goals that I haven’t quite assigned a priority. A recent injury that I haven’t taken too much time to repair limits my distance to about 10 miles. So I’ve backed down to half-marathons and trail runs of obscure distances like 9 or 14 miles, usually running miles 8 through finish with little knowledge of the whereabouts of my hamstrings. Truthfully, I’ve stayed pretty content at these distances for a couple of years now. Although I admit, it’s probably time to call the physical therapist.

Anyway, for me, there are few moments more emotional than watching first time marathoners cross the finish line. Seriously, it’s pretty incredible to be a part of a personal celebration of months of morning runs, blistered toes, chafed skin, IT band pain and time away from family.

If there’s a race in your town I highly suggest heading down to the finish to watch the magic.