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Event Results >>

U SPORTS PREDICTION CONTEST!

Nike Breaking 2 Hour Marathon Attempt

Italy
May 5th, 2017

Nike Breaking 2 Hour Marathon Attempt

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  • zanzibar User since:
    Nov 4th, 2013
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    Zanzibar said 1 year ago

    Getting the predictions started I'm going with 2:01:22 FTW.

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  • el-hefe User since:
    Oct 16th, 2016
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    El Hefe said 1 year ago

    1:59.90

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    59:59 at the HM as scripted, but if EK doesn't quit after falling off, 2:02:47.

    What I think is most likely is a DNF for all three of the project's runners. (seems that Lilesa and Tadesse were really always there only as assistants, anyway)

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    JP said 1 year ago

    2:04:30

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    CrazyRunningKid said 1 year ago

    “If no one thinks you can, then you have to.” 1:58.24

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    CrazyRunningKid said 1 year ago

    It was a great event, what a run.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Unrealistic said 1 year ago

    2:07

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    It seems with a great, great athlete like Kipchoge and then controlling the conditions as much as possible you can come within a whisper of 2 hours.

    A very interesting experiment, and I think a lot was (and will continue to be as debriefing and analysis occurs) learned from it.

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  • chris-mercier User since:
    Feb 10th, 2016
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    Chris Mercier said 1 year ago

    Wow, that was something by EK. I watched the entire event and Nike didn't make too much out of it. I would say relatively low profile by their standards. Pure focus on the execution and the performance. Bravo. And what about the outcome, it surprised probably 95% of everybody. The most interesting factor regarding EK performance to me was that the course was legit. Now it's on to 25secs!!!

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    Really Am Skuj said 1 year ago

    I admit that I thought this was a Nike Fail at first, but now I am eating crow. The course/drafting/shoes accounted for that 1-2% that has not been present at Major Marathons, but EK is simply brilliant. If this happens again next year I'll be glued to the screen. (But I want to see those shoes. Is there some "blade runner" thing going on here?)

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    While an interesting experiment, this makes me think that we're even further from a "true" sub 2 hour marathon than I thought.

    Nike thinks the shoes can make a runner 4% faster. What's the equivalent of Kipchoge's time, without the 2-4% advantage?

    This just proves to me that, if you take one of the current world's best marathoners in top form, and have them run:
    - on a perfectly flat course under ideal conditions
    - have misting spray cooling them down
    - with carbon-plate shoes, producing a "spring"-effect (up to) 4% advantage
    - behind a car with a billboard clock breaking wind
    - behind pacers running in a flying v-formation ahead of them the whole race

    they still can't break the 2 hour mark!

    The carbon plate in the shoes is the factor we need to understand more about before we say this performance is "incredible" or just "solid". It will be interesting when they run the experiment again, with different runners in peak form, and have other performances to compare with.

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    One thing that I didn't hear much talk around is Kipchoge's impeccable form. Now, I understand that form has often been overrated in distance-running circles, but when you watch the video one can't help notice that Kipchoge is "technically correct" by almost any definition and, moreover, appears to be working much less than his colleagues.

    EK is really the perfect athlete for such an experiment where efficiencies are required to be optimized.

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    Anonymous said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Jones
    "One thing that I didn't hear much talk around is Kipchoge's impeccable form. Now, I understand that form has often been overrated in distance-running circles, but when you watch the video one can't help notice that Kipchoge is "technically correct" by almost any definition and, moreover, appears to be working much less than his colleagues.

    EK is really the perfect athlete for such an experiment where efficiencies are required to be optimized."


    Agreed. I never noticed any strain until about the 25 mile mark. Obviously there was before then, they fell off the pace around the 35K mark, but man, he looked good the whole way.

    At 1:57:40 the female commentator (can't remember her name) says the the same thing. "Look at his turnover. That's perfection right there....even though he is hurting, his form is not breaking down" At the 25+ mile mark. Mighty impressive.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    True, Kipchoge was the right athlete for Nike to select. He executed as planned and made their experiment a "success". But as LetRun pointed out "Bannister didn’t suddenly alter the rules of the game or come up with a new type of track to run on."

    Now the question we need to answer is whether a carbon plate is that much different than a board last or a Strobel last. The Nike experiment has exposed a new "grey area" that could be manipulated to achieve faster performances. Potential scenarios: Either shoes are put through checks to verify their construction "by IAAF rules", or all shoe construction methods are allowed.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/07/iaaf-investigation-concerns-springs-running-shoes-marathon

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    I think the shoe was down the list of helpful factors, after the giant car/clock windbreak, the phalanx of pacers/air diverters, and the baby-bottle hi-carb solutions given to the stars without them breaking stride.

    Also, I noticed that "traditional splitting" seemed to be thrown out, as EK talked about the lap times (and I'm sure the athletes had the projected finish time available), and not kilometer or mile splits.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    You think the shoe was way down the list, or you know it was? Nike is saying it offers a potential 4% improvement, which would mean an improvement from 2:03 to 1:58 (if my calculations are correct).

    The shoe is the unknown factor and has apparently has the IAAF worried enough to review shoe approval rules in their upcoming Technical Committee meeting.

    ---

    The latest issue is shoes. Track’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, said in an email that it had received a number of inquiries about elite runners’ wearing new designs made by various companies. Its technical committee will meet within two weeks to “see if we need to change or review approvals.”
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/08/sports/nikes-vivid-shoes-and-the-gray-area-of-performance-enhancement.html

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  • nc-blogger User since:
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    NC Blogger said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "Now the question we need to answer is whether a carbon plate is that much different than a board last or a Strobel last. "


    The Nike dude describing the plate referred to it as similar to a spike plate in a track spike, designed to propel / role the foot forward.

    Track spikes have come a long way, and yet we've never complained about the advantage they've given us. Perhaps no record should have merit unless we run it barefoot on a dirt track? I mean if we are complaining about shoes.....

    You'd be hard pressed to stay El Guerrouj's shoes did not give him an advantage over Bannister.

    This post was edited by NC Blogger 1 year ago . 
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    Anonymous said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "At 1:57:40 the female commentator (can't remember her name)."



    You mean Paula Radcliffe, the women's WR holder (in a time that is equivalently better than a sub 2 might I add)?

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Kirk, do some research. The "Nike dudes" say the carbon plate is spoon shaped (put a spoon on a table and see the curve in the handle). When the runner lands, the curvature of the carbon plate is compressed by landing weight. On push off, the carbon plate rebounds and provides some propulsion forces. Hence, the "Nike dudes" saying there could be an up to 4% improvement.

    This is markedly different than track spikes. Although, yes - I will concede modern spikes and Mondo surfaces have given us an advantage over the cinder tracks and leather spikes of the Bannister era. (El Guerrouj publicly acknowledged the advantage he gleaned over Bannister's era from these 2 improvements.)

    I'm not complaining about the advantage shoes or spikes offer. What I'm saying is this: This new shoe technology would either mean the IAAF would have to make shoe checks of all runners in a marathon field (pretty much impossible), or establish some new rule around the new technology. If they allow the new technology, then we will inevitably see a downward shift in times (if there is a 4% improvement, someone running 2:03 should theoretically be able to run around 1:58).

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    I agree that the shoe is an "X factor" currently. We know that reducing air resistance is indeed a boon, and logic will tell us that not having to break stride (and mentally lose focus on relaxation, etc.) 5-10 times during the race for feeding will also result in time savings.

    I've read the stuff on the shoes from TSOS and Hutch's site, and while the science seems sound, the 4 percent claim is outlandish, as noted. If the 4 percent was true, and factoring in the other advantages, the math yields a "comfortable" sub-2. I think the Spira implementation was instructive -- even with internal springs no discernable advantage was gained.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    I'm not sure how we could say the 4% claim is outlandish or not, since there is very little real world data to compare against? This is quite a bit different than the Spira implementation, or any other I have heard of, since Nike seems to have done their research in the positioning, thickness, and curvature of the carbon plate. They also paired it up with a new flexible foam.

    Anyhow, even a 1-2% improvement in efficiency makes the playing field unfair. Pair this with, as you say, feeding-on-the-fly, drafting assistance, etc and it's quite hard to say what Kipchoge would have run under less favourable conditions.

    Kipchoge obviously did a fantastic job executing, but I'm doubtful about whether his performance was the equivalent of Kimetto's in Berlin, or Mutai's NYC course record. Whether the his run was "incredible" or just "ordinary", we just can't say yet. Time (and some additional repetitions of the experiment) may tell.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Anyway, I also found this argument by TSOS a bit lacking:
    "The short answer here is that we simply don’t know if Nike’s shoe is worth any time at all, but reports from athletes and researchers says it is, and so this may have helped Kipchoge slightly."

    The reason, I say lacking is threefold:
    1) It's hard to have a comparative "real" world test to say exactly how efficient the shoe is. I can see it depending on runner's weight, style of stride, etc..
    2) This is a relatively "new" technology (pairing a spoon-shaped, spring-like carbon plate with new types of foam). That means it could potentially improve to 4% or more.
    3) The effect of "saving" a runners legs during the middle of the marathon becomes exponential during the later stages of the race, when most runners fall off WR pace. So, any improvement in efficiency or cushioning (through Pistorius blade-like springs, if you like), means huge benefit later in the race.

    I read both AHutch and TSOS summary analysis of the Kipchoge experiment, and both appeared to say the jury is still out on a number of factors employed in the experiment.

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "....the jury is still out on a number of factors employed in the experiment."


    No doubt there will be ongoing analysis of the data...I'm sure there was plenty of measurement going on. Likely those results will remain proprietary, however.

    But let's not make what was viewable overly complex: EK was supported by a significant air baffle, his only "concern" was to follow comrades (and not competitors) in front of him, he didn't have to slow down/break rhythm for feeding, the fuel consumed was customized to EK's liking - and determined via an experimental process, the conditions were chosen with consultation from EK and the other two project stars, and there and were no turns on the course to cause energy leak.

    Not much magic there, ultimately, just science.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    I'll correct a few things I said: the 4% figure is in terms of running efficiency (apparently from a treadmill test that was done) and the rockered carbon plate works by minimising loss of energy at the phalangeal joints during push off.

    If this link works, AHutch's thoughts on the shoes are at 49:56 of the podcast:
    https://megaphone.link/RUW7784410707

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Jones
    "No doubt there will be ongoing analysis of the data...I'm sure there was plenty of measurement going on. Likely those results will remain proprietary, however.

    But let's not make what was viewable overly complex: EK was supported by a significant air baffle, his only "concern" was to follow comrades (and not competitors) in front of him, he didn't have to slow down/break rhythm for feeding, the fuel consumed was customized to EK's liking - and determined via an experimental process, the conditions were chosen with consultation from EK and the other two project stars, and there and were no turns on the course to cause energy leak.

    Not much magic there, ultimately, just science."


    And he still missed the 2 hour mark!

    I guess I learned a few things from the experiment. The first is that a sub 2 hour marathon is possible, under the right conditions and with the right equipment. But it's not really comparable with a "true" marathon performance. It isn't comparable with Kimetto's WR or Mutai's NYC course record, for example. A "true" sub 2 seems a long way off - considering the Nike experiment used every potential advantage and still missed.

    Regarding the shoes, I anticipate that the IAAF will have to consent to the technology already used. It's impossible to check the shoes of every runner (or elite) running a marathon.
    Apparently, the shoes were already used by Shalane Flanagan in the US Oly trials (Kara Goucher learned after the fact) and by the top 3 in the Olympics?

    If we do see the technology being adopted, then a downward shift in times is inevitable. (Perhaps a new Canadian record for the men's marathon?)

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    "....but reports from athletes and researchers says it is, and so this may have helped Kipchoge slightly."

    The placebo effect alluded to here as regards the shoes was just one part of a larger psychological, or placebo effect. Kipchoge's belief in his training and in himself was aided by additional mental easements:

    >the knowledge that the other runners were all there to help him
    >the removal of concerns about pace numbers or calculations...all he had to do was follow
    >course knowledge, and that the layout had no terrain challenges and tricky turns
    >the availability of his preferred nutrition upon demand

    The removal of these psychological stressors -- and no doubt others, as well -- is just another variable that, while impossible to quantify, no doubt had a bearing on the outcome.

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  • chris-mercier User since:
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    Chris Mercier said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "And he still missed the 2 hour mark!

    I guess I learned a few things from the experiment. The first is that a sub 2 hour marathon is possible, under the right conditions and with the right equipment. But it's not really comparable with a "true" marathon performance. It isn't comparable with Kimetto's WR or Mutai's NYC course record, for example. A "true" sub 2 seems a long way off - considering the Nike experiment used every potential advantage and still missed.

    Regarding the shoes, I anticipate that the IAAF will have to consent to the technology already used. It's impossible to check the shoes of every runner (or elite) running a marathon.
    Apparently, the shoes were already used by Shalane Flanagan in the US Oly trials (Kara Goucher learned after the fact) and by the top 3 in the Olympics?

    If we do see the technology being adopted, then a downward shift in times is inevitable. (Perhaps a new Canadian record for the men's marathon?)"


    EK ran a a "true" performance in my view. When asked what did he consider the best time a clean athlete could run for the marathon, Gebrselassie answered: “You ask me, clean? No technology, no help? That is what Abebe Bikila ran in 1960. That was barefoot. The cleanest.”

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Jones
    ""....but reports from athletes and researchers says it is, and so this may have helped Kipchoge slightly."

    The placebo effect alluded to here as regards the shoes was just one part of a larger psychological, or placebo effect. Kipchoge's belief in his training and in himself was aided by additional mental easements:

    >the knowledge that the other runners were all there to help him
    >the removal of concerns about pace numbers or calculations...all he had to do was follow
    >course knowledge, and that the layout had no terrain challenges and tricky turns
    >the availability of his preferred nutrition upon demand

    The removal of these psychological stressors -- and no doubt others, as well -- is just another variable that, while impossible to quantify, no doubt had a bearing on the outcome."


    Kipchoge's 2:00:26 is about the equivalent of a 26 min 10,000m. Is Kipchoge really in peak form to break the 10,000m world record by 15s or more?

    While the removal of psychological stressors is difficult to quantify, we could very easily begin to test the improvement from the shoes. For example, have a test group run a 10k on the F1 track with Nike Streak 6's and then have them run again a few days later in Vaporfly's. If the delta improvement is too much to attribute to weather conditions, etc.. then the shoes must be making a difference. Or: have a test group run 1k to 2k intervals alternating between a control shoe and the test (Vaporfly) between the intervals.

    As for using the shoes in competition, I feel it's about establishing a level playing field. Either let everyone use the technology, or disallow it. AHutch said the top 3 men's Olympic marathoners wore the shoe, as well as Shalane Flanagan in the US Women's Oly trials. Kara Goucher found out about the technology much later. If the shoes offer even a 1-2% improvement in efficiency, is this a level playing field level?

    When Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, he tackled the problem using a physiological/training approach. He didn't break the 4 minute mile using superior equipment or changing the race conditions. Similarly, the track spikes and Mondo surface El Guerrouj ran on were widely available to elite runners who wanted to challenge the mile record in his day and age.

    That's why this experiment will just be an interesting experiment to me. It's so far removed from the "real world" performances of Kimetto, Kipsang, Mutai, and other recent notable performances. It's simply not comparable.

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "Kipchoge's 2:00:26 is about the equivalent of a 26 min 10,000m. Is Kipchoge really in peak form to break the 10,000m world record by 15s or more?
    ."


    Only if a track race were set up with the same advantages conferred in the sub-2 exercise. And I think most of us would be somehow offended while watching a motorized windbreak preceding EK and the cadre.

    BTW, EK may not even "win that race" as Farah, Kamworor, Karoki, (all Nike athletes) etc., will want in.

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  • steveweiler User since:
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    SteveWeiler said 1 year ago

    You actually can argue that Bannister's multiple attempts to break 4 did include a changing of race conditions relative to the previous norm; my understanding is that they marked the beginning of using multiple pacers, aiming to benefit the athlete for as much of the race distance as possible.
    In 1953, Bannister ran a 4:02.0 with the help of two pacers. One pacer led from the front for 2.5 laps or so. The second pacer ran slowly, allowing himself to be lapped (almost), then speeding up to help with the latter part of the race. British officials did not accept this performance, which would have been a national record.
    The 1954 race that saw the first sub-4 again used two pacers, both leading from the front with the second pacer taking over when the first one steps off.
    They were pushing the boundaries of accepted practice and even went so far as to break the rules in 1953.

    This post was edited by SteveWeiler 1 year ago . 
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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: SteveWeiler
    "You actually can argue that Bannister's multiple attempts to break 4 did include a changing of race conditions relative to the previous norm; my understanding is that they marked the beginning of using multiple pacers, aiming to benefit the athlete for as much of the race distance as possible.
    In 1953, Bannister ran a 4:02.0 with the help of two pacers. One pacer led from the front for 2.5 laps or so. The second pacer ran slowly, allowing himself to be lapped (almost), then speeding up to help with the latter part of the race. British officials did not accept this performance, which would have been a national record.
    The 1954 race that saw the first sub-4 again used two pacers, both leading from the front with the second pacer taking over when the first one steps off.
    They were pushing the boundaries of accepted practice and even went so far as to break the rules in 1953."


    Sure, he was pushing the limits... but my point is the record was set within the rules, with technology and conditions available to everyone at the time. He had no "special" advantage. In 1954, hundreds of the world's top milers had access to a cinder track, pacing (within the rules), and the spikes that he wore. Same in '99 when Guerrouj set the current world mile record (and all years since).

    As AHutch points out, the rules aren't very well defined for shoe technology. And, in this respect, Nike could have potentially set the record with technology that gave them an advantage over the rest of the field - while still not breaking the rules. But the drafting is clearly outside of the rules.

    I'm not saying this wasn't an interesting experiment. In fact, I would like to see it repeated again. But, it's simply not comparable with the WR performance! There's too many "unknown" factors. More iterations of the experiment are needed - under the same (or close) conditions, with runners of similar elk, with control shoes and "experimental" shoes, etc.. I know I have had some atrocious grammar and spelling on here, but can anyone understand what I'm saying??

    If it were IN ANY WAY, comparable with "real" race conditions, then Eliud Kipchoge would be able to run 26min flat on the track. He can't. Period.

    The fact that people are toasting his accomplishment, without knowing for sure how the factors affected his performance, is a bit strange. How are we to know he turned out just an ordinary performance but, with the drafting, shoes, etc., he ran 2:00:26? Why not just have him run on a slightly downhill course with a tailwind and break 2 hours?

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Chris Mercier
    "EK ran a a "true" performance in my view. When asked what did he consider the best time a clean athlete could run for the marathon, Gebrselassie answered: “You ask me, clean? No technology, no help? That is what Abebe Bikila ran in 1960. That was barefoot. The cleanest.”"


    Chris - maybe something was lost in translation here, but again, I mean COMPARABLE to the current WR performance. That's what I mean by "true".

    If your argument holds, why not just put a doped up cyclist behind a motor-paced wind block for 1 hour and call the 70km/h or 80km/h he or she rides at the "World Hour Record? (Cycling began to see the futility in this pursuit, banned the "Superman" aerodynamic riding position, and established a Unified Hour Record in 2014. Under the Unified Hour Record rules, riders are required to be part of the biological passport program.)

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    Interestingly, Bannister went one better later in 1954 at Vancouver when he ran 3:58.8 against John Landy in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games (now Commonwealth Games), breaking Landy's record, which he took from Bannister. So it seemed Bannister could run well/fast in either a set up condition, or competitive situation.

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    Regarding shoes helping towards a new Men's Marathon NR, from reading this Toronto Star interview, I think any kind of viable racing shoe would be an improvement over what JD experienced in December, 1975:

    "He remembers his record-setting day in Fukuoka quite well, knows that the time should actually have been 30 seconds to a minute faster. But he was wearing a new pair of racing flats that day provided by the Japanese company Tiger. He’d normally never do that, but they felt so comfortable — until the arch dislodged in the final few kilometres and got wedged under his toes. He got passed at one point while struggling to adjust, but recovered in time for the win. He said he was on a 2:08.40 pace at the midway point."

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    SteveWeiler said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "Sure, he was pushing the limits... but my point is the record was set within the rules..."


    That's really just a statement of fact, that a performance must meet criteria before it becomes a record. You stated that Bannister "tackled the problem using a physiological/training approach" that didn't involve "changing the race conditions." I don't think that accurately represents what was happening. If he'd broken 4:00 in the 1953 attempt that British officials didn't accept, this would be a different conversation; that attempt provides context to how they were tackling this problem.

    Rather than citing Bannister's sub-4 as being in direct contrast to the Breaking 2 attempt, I submit that it is more appropriate to compare Bannister's 4:02.0 in 1953 and the Breaking 2 attempt of 2017. Obviously, there is context of the amateur vs. professional era and being further along the performance curve with less room for large improvements. Should Kipchoge break 2 (or even go 2:01:xx) in the next few years, that could be viewed as parallel to Bannister going on to break 4 later in his career.

    Both are excellent athletes who chose to participate in events that sought to discover what humans are capable of running and break down barriers.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Headlines like this are killing me right now: "Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge hailed for stunning performance after missing sub-two hour marathon attempt by 24 [26] seconds"

    What do they mean: stunning???

    - Seconds gained from running on flat F1 track with wide turns: UNKNOWN (we can only guesstimate, as this was the first time a runner of this calibre in peak form attempted the distance on this particular track)
    - Seconds gained from drafting: UNKNOWN (we can only guesstimate, as this was the first time a car with a clock billboard of size x was used with pacers in a flying V formation)
    - Seconds gained from laser box projected from car to aid pacing: UNKOWN
    - Seconds gained from handing off water bottles from moped: UKNOWN
    - Seconds gained from Vaporfly shoes: UKNOWN (Nike says average 4% efficiency gain. AHutch says the treadmill study cited had up to 6% efficiency gains as well as other outliers - both high and low)

    - Seconds gained from COMBINED variables above in reducing Kipchoge's fatigue at the critical stage of the marathon, when most runners fall off record pace: UNKNOWN

    After reading the TSOS summary analysis and AHutch's recap, I'm a skeptic. All I'm seeing is guesstimates and unknowns. Why not just have a runner of Kipchoge's ilk and fitness run on a downhill course with a tailwind and break 2 hours? We don't know if his run was the equivalent of a 2:01, a 2:03, or a 2:05. For me, it's just a very interesting field test.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: SteveWeiler
    "That's really just a statement of fact, that a performance must meet criteria before it becomes a record. You stated that Bannister "tackled the problem using a physiological/training approach" that didn't involve "changing the race conditions." I don't think that accurately represents what was happening. If he'd broken 4:00 in the 1953 attempt that British officials didn't accept, this would be a different conversation; that attempt provides context to how they were tackling this problem.

    Rather than citing Bannister's sub-4 as being in direct contrast to the Breaking 2 attempt, I submit that it is more appropriate to compare Bannister's 4:02.0 in 1953 and the Breaking 2 attempt of 2017. Obviously, there is context of the amateur vs. professional era and being further along the performance curve with less room for large improvements. Should Kipchoge break 2 (or even go 2:01:xx) in the next few years, that could be viewed as parallel to Bannister going on to break 4 later in his career.

    Both are excellent athletes who chose to participate in events that sought to discover what humans are capable of running and break down barriers."


    Yes this is a good point Steve. But Kipchoge isn't capable of running a 26 min flat 10,000m on the track (roughly the equivalent of a sub 2 marathon). While Bannister, obviously, was capable of running a sub 4 minute mile during those years - in both a paced and competitive race - as Jonesy pointed out. We're not talking about fresh pacers in a mile race, but conditions drastically altered to improve efficiency over 26.2 miles. Much different.

    And the fact that Nike isn't saying much about the fact that this SHOULDN'T be compared to the current WR performance (for several reasons) isn't super-fantastic for the sport. Some find it downright insulting. It's in contrast to what Bannister had to say about the '53 attempt (below). And, if indeed they did have the top 3 men in the Olympic marathon wear their new technology without stating it ahead of time, is that really fair to the other runners in the field - whether the current IAAF rules around footwear aren't well defined or not?
    ---
    Brasher had jogged the race, allowing Bannister to lap him so he could be a fresh pace-setter. At ¾ mile, Bannister was at 3:01.8, the record—and first sub-four-minute mile—in reach. But the effort fell short with a finish in 4:02.0, a time bettered by only Andersson and Hägg. British officials would not allow this performance to stand as a British record, which, Bannister felt in retrospect, was a good decision. "My feeling as I look back is one of great relief that I did not run a four-minute mile under such artificial circumstances," he said.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Bannister

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  • steveweiler User since:
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    SteveWeiler said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "Yes this is a good point Steve. But Kipchoge isn't capable of running a 26 min flat 10,000m on the track (roughly the equivalent of a sub 2 marathon). While Bannister, obviously, was capable of running a sub 4 minute mile during those years - in both a paced and competitive race - as Jonesy pointed out. We're not talking about fresh pacers in a mile race, but conditions drastically altered to improve efficiency over 26.2 miles. Much different."


    If you're willing to accept that the appropriate comparison is between the 2017 Breaking 2 attempt and the 1953 4:02.0 that didn't count (and as I said earlier, acknowledging the context of the eras, etc.), then you don't actually know (in 1953) that Bannister is capable of breaking 4 because not only has he not done it yet - nor has any other human being - but he couldn't even break 4:02 in a race that broke the rules!

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    Trent said 1 year ago

    there is a "real" study behind the 4%, and it will be presented at a major conference at the end of this month (http://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/4196/presentation/10832 ) which i'll be attending.

    That said, anyone involved in elite (truly elite) athlete testing and/or intervention (any intervention) absolutely knows the effect sizes are much smaller in the truly elite vs. sub-elite are vastly different. So although this study was done in 31min 10k guys, one will assume the effect on EK would be much smaller than 4%, as he is much closer to the ceiling. Secondly, this study was done on a treadmill, so again a leap to over-ground running economy changes.

    The drafting/draft from the runners and cars was big here....really big..

    A finally, when approaching physiological limits of either speed or endurance IMHO it makes no sense to do it outside of the rules of WR setting.....that is my biggest disappointment with this whole thing. Sure, EK was sublime and I was certainly cheering, but why not have a net downhill course, with a tail wind, and fans behind them then? When you enter into the world of grey, it makes any understanding of true physiological limits almost pointless.

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    Celebrate success said 1 year ago

    No matter the benefits of an ideal situation it was still an increible effort. Celebrate the success rather than point out the shortcomings.

    All the observations are just opinions of 'not fair'. Is there really that much difference between some of these things and a known rabbit there purely to help reach a time standard?

    Imagine if No one ever tried to push the envelope. Out of the box thInking is where it is at.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: SteveWeiler
    "If you're willing to accept that the appropriate comparison is between the 2017 Breaking 2 attempt and the 1953 4:02.0 that didn't count (and as I said earlier, acknowledging the context of the eras, etc.), then you don't actually know (in 1953) that Bannister is capable of breaking 4 because not only has he not done it yet - nor has any other human being - but he couldn't even break 4:02 in a race that broke the rules!"


    We wouldn't have known in 1953, that's true. But, as I pointed out, Bannister's feeling in hindsight of the '53 attempt being disallowed was one of relief. Because he realised the conditions would have been artificial or, at least, not within the rules.

    In any case, the sub 2 attempt was clearly outside the rules due to the drafting effect and the moped bottle hand off. I'm not saying it wasn't well executed. Kudos has to go to those who planned the event and Kipchoge for pulling off the plan to perfection.

    But what is the definition of "success" here? We simply don't know. The data is probably still being analysed as we write here. As I said before, if we don't know (if this was an equivalent performance of a 2:01, a 2:03, or a 2:05), why are we toasting this as an "accomplishment"? We could take a runner of Kipchoge's calibre, set him up on a downhill course with a tailwind, and have him break 2 hours. Is this "success"?

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Celebrate success
    "No matter the benefits of an ideal situation it was still an increible effort. Celebrate the success rather than point out the shortcomings.

    All the observations are just opinions of 'not fair'. Is there really that much difference between some of these things and a known rabbit there purely to help reach a time standard?

    Imagine if No one ever tried to push the envelope. Out of the box thInking is where it is at."


    YES, there really is a difference between a rabbit and a flying 'V' of runners behind a pace vehicle. Hence, the Nike project consultation with aerodynamic engineers. AND, if the shoes don't make any significant different - prove it. Repeat the same experiment with a runner in Streak 6s (or any other shoes not utilising the curved carbon plate).

    SECONDLY, what is your definition of "success" here? What if a 2:03 effort was really the equivalent of a 1:57-1:58 under these conditions?

    THIRDLY, why do sporting rules exist? If we start out playing chess, but change the rules and end up playing tiddly-winks, can we call the winner of the game of tiddly-winks the winner of the chess match?

    I will celebrate the fact that there was a really cool experiment that might help us learn more about what the limiters are to lowering the WR. But we can't say that this was a superior performance to the current WR. (We can't even say it's a superior performance to Kipchoge's PR).

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    Flying V said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "YES, there really is a difference between a rabbit and a flying 'V' of runners behind a pace vehicle. Hence, the Nike project consultation with aerodynamic engineers. AND, if the shoes don't make any significant different - prove it. Repeat the same experiment with a runner in Streak 6s (or any other shoes not utilising the curved carbon plate).

    SECONDLY, what is your definition of "success" here? What if a 2:03 effort was really the equivalent of a 1:57-1:58 under these conditions?

    THIRDLY, why do sporting rules exist? If we start out playing chess, but change the rules and end up playing tiddly-winks, can we call the winner of the game of tiddly-winks the winner of the chess match?

    I will celebrate the fact that there was a really cool experiment that might help us learn more about what the limiters are to lowering the WR. But we can't say that this was a superior performance to the current WR. (We can't even say it's a superior performance to Kipchoge's PR)."


    So you are saying that if 5 pacers show up and run in a flying V for the first 1200 of the next 1500 the runners behind them would be disqualified? Can you point me to that clause in the rule book?

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    About the shoes said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "YES, there really is a difference between a rabbit and a flying 'V' of runners behind a pace vehicle. Hence, the Nike project consultation with aerodynamic engineers. AND, if the shoes don't make any significant different - prove it. Repeat the same experiment with a runner in Streak 6s (or any other shoes not utilising the curved carbon plate).

    SECONDLY, what is your definition of "success" here? What if a 2:03 effort was really the equivalent of a 1:57-1:58 under these conditions?

    THIRDLY, why do sporting rules exist? If we start out playing chess, but change the rules and end up playing tiddly-winks, can we call the winner of the game of tiddly-winks the winner of the chess match?

    I will celebrate the fact that there was a really cool experiment that might help us learn more about what the limiters are to lowering the WR. But we can't say that this was a superior performance to the current WR. (We can't even say it's a superior performance to Kipchoge's PR)."


    Over the past decades there have been unlimited improvements in shoe construction and materials. All shoe companies spend huge $s trying to make improvements to past designs. They market how their shoe performs better than others.

    And all of a sudden this shift in technology crosses the bar that makes things illegal?

    Good thing these rules were not around when Bowerman pulled out his wife's waffle iron.

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    Faster = Superior said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "YES, there really is a difference between a rabbit and a flying 'V' of runners behind a pace vehicle. Hence, the Nike project consultation with aerodynamic engineers. AND, if the shoes don't make any significant different - prove it. Repeat the same experiment with a runner in Streak 6s (or any other shoes not utilising the curved carbon plate).

    SECONDLY, what is your definition of "success" here? What if a 2:03 effort was really the equivalent of a 1:57-1:58 under these conditions?

    THIRDLY, why do sporting rules exist? If we start out playing chess, but change the rules and end up playing tiddly-winks, can we call the winner of the game of tiddly-winks the winner of the chess match?

    I will celebrate the fact that there was a really cool experiment that might help us learn more about what the limiters are to lowering the WR. But we can't say that this was a superior performance to the current WR. (We can't even say it's a superior performance to Kipchoge's PR)."


    You might not be able to say it is a superior performance. But please don't include all of us in your 'we'. The clock doesn't lie and it is not subjective at all. One of the beauties of the sport of running is it is fairly simple. Faster wins. Hence a very non-subjective method of determining 'superior'.

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    Chris Mercier said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "Chris - maybe something was lost in translation here, but again, I mean COMPARABLE to the current WR performance. That's what I mean by "true".

    If your argument holds, why not just put a doped up cyclist behind a motor-paced wind block for 1 hour and call the 70km/h or 80km/h he or she rides at the "World Hour Record? (Cycling began to see the futility in this pursuit, banned the "Superman" aerodynamic riding position, and established a Unified Hour Record in 2014. Under the Unified Hour Record rules, riders are required to be part of the biological passport program.)"


    We all know that drafting in cycling isn't comparable to running, but that' s not my point. It was a superb performance that struck the mind. Pushing the limits to how fast we think we CAN run. There's a big part of belief in there, remember EK was not trying to be strategic hoping for the W. Sure there were technology and special conditions involved, but why not choose to be amazed rather then point out the flaws. I mean the guy ran with incredible form the whole way faster then the World record by 2 and half mins, not 2 secs!

    This post was edited by Chris Mercier 1 year ago . 
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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    "THIRDLY, why do sporting rules exist?"

    Interesting philosophical question, and to me we create and apply rules to physical activity and give them sport names just as we take dissonant noise, organize it until it resolves against the ear, and call it music. In each case a new, compelling entity is created from raw materials that are less compelling in that more chaotic state.

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    Chris Mercier said 1 year ago

    Good point About the shoes regarding innovation. That's what companies are doing since the age of time.

    This post was edited by Chris Mercier 1 year ago . 
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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Flying V
    "So you are saying that if 5 pacers show up and run in a flying V for the first 1200 of the next 1500 the runners behind them would be disqualified? Can you point me to that clause in the rule book?"


    My error, I believe the IAAF wouldn't allow the Kipchoge record because of the use of drop-in pacers, who join after the start of the race. Interestingly, the same reason they disqualified Bannister's '53 mile record attempt.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: About the shoes
    "Over the past decades there have been unlimited improvements in shoe construction and materials. All shoe companies spend huge $s trying to make improvements to past designs. They market how their shoe performs better than others.

    And all of a sudden this shift in technology crosses the bar that makes things illegal?

    Good thing these rules were not around when Bowerman pulled out his wife's waffle iron."


    IAAF rules are not well defined around footwear, and hence the shoes would not disqualify the record.

    I have simply said: If the shoes do provide the advantage Nike says they do then, for things to be a level playing field, the IAAF has to allow everyone trying for the record to use this technology. Before the Breaking2 attempt, Nike hadn't really revealed how the technology worked (the carbon plates minimise the energy lost in the phalangeal joints during push-off). AHutch has said the top 3 runners in the men's marathon used the technology.

    Even a 1-2% increase is significant in the marathon, so you will inevitably see a downward shift in times in the marathon if the IAAF allows them from now on.

    I am not "against" new technology or "against" the use of the shoes. The discussion is about whether the Breaking2 attempt can be considered comparable to the current WR. How can you say this performance is "superior" to the current WR, or even Kipchoge's PR, when new technology was used along with a combination of never-before-used factors (e.g. the flat F1 track with a chalk line marked for the runner's path)?

    For the experiment to be considered a "success", we need to better understand the data and have more iterations of the experiment.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Faster = Superior
    "You might not be able to say it is a superior performance. But please don't include all of us in your 'we'. The clock doesn't lie and it is not subjective at all. One of the beauties of the sport of running is it is fairly simple. Faster wins. Hence a very non-subjective method of determining 'superior'."


    By this logic, we should set up Kipchoge (or runner of similar calibre and fitness) on a downhill course with a stiff tailwind and see how he runs. As you say: the clock never lies.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Chris Mercier
    "We all know that drafting in cycling isn't comparable to running, but that' s not my point. It was a superb performance that struck the mind. Pushing the limits to how fast we think we CAN run. There's a big part of belief in there, remember EK was not trying to be strategic hoping for the W. Sure there were technology and special conditions involved, but why not choose to be amazed rather then point out the flaws. I mean the guy ran with incredible form the whole way faster then the World record by 2 and half mins, not 2 secs!"


    I never said the experiment wasn't cool. Just not comparable to the WR.

    This illustrates my point: You say he ran 2 and a half minutes FASTER than the WR.

    If we don't consider the factors that gave him an advantage, then he should be able to run 26 min flat for 10,000m on the track. Please don't take this as me insulting Kipchoge. I think he's an incredible runner and humble to boot. But he can't run 26min flat for 10,000m. Hence, some other factors were at play.

    Is it good science to compare results of experiments conducted with completely different factors??

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Chris Mercier
    "Good point About the shoes regarding innovation. That's what companies are doing since the age of time."


    Chris, read my above posts. I'm not AGAINST technology or AGAINST the use of the shoes.

    I'm simply saying we don't understand exactly what advantage they provide and, right now, some athletes are using the technology while others aren't. It's about establishing a level playing field and right now we are comparing apples vs oranges when we compare this attempt with the current WR.

    I'm NOT saying:
    - the experiment wasn't interesting
    - we can't learn things from the experiment
    - Kipchoge is not an incredible athlete
    - Kipchoge excecuted to perfection
    etc. etc.

    In the cycling hour record, technological innovations started to provide significant advantages which was allowing the hour record to advance. Cycling implemented rules (the Unified Hour Record) in 2014 to establish a fair and level playing field for ALL athletes wishing to attempt the record.

    (In this way, cycling IS comparable because the Breaking2 attempt is very similar to what was happening with the hour record - all kinds of projects were happening, which employed all kinds of technology: different aerodynamic positions, different tires and tire pressures, different wheels, etc.. Cycling felt that the technology was becoming more important that the athlete's performance and hence the rules push.)

    I'm not AGAINST the technology in the Breaking2 project or saying it shouldn't be adopted. I'm simply saying it's not good science to compare the results of races under completely different conditions. Heck, if we starting organising marathons on flat F1 tracks, you would see the WR drop. It's also not fair (in competition) if some athletes are wearing shoes that give them a 1-2% advantage (Nike says 4%), and others are not.

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    SteveWeiler said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "We wouldn't have known in 1953, that's true. But, as I pointed out, Bannister's feeling in hindsight of the '53 attempt being disallowed was one of relief. Because he realised the conditions would have been artificial or, at least, not within the rules."


    Again, for a fair comparison, I'll note that you wouldn't have known that in 1953 either, though I'm not sure how many years or decades later Bannister stated his regret at choosing to participate in the DQ'd record attempt.

    The importance of pointing out the context is primarily to show that the pursuit of sub-4 helped shape the sport and, I believe, had an impact on the now common use of pacers. It also represented a similar pursuit of pushing the boundaries and breaking round numbers; lots in common with breaking 2 attempt, if you're able to appreciate the context of the respective eras.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Lastly, NOBODY can say the Breaking2 performance was superior to Kipchoge's PR of 2:03:05 (London 2016). If we don't yet understand what exactly the improvement was from the different factors (shoes, drafting, moped, flat F1 track) either individually or in combination, HOW can people say this performance was superior? All I'm hearing is he ran well, looked good, and we may have saved x number of seconds here and x number of seconds there. This doesn NOT mean I'm against technology or that I DON'T like Kipchoge (I do!). This is just simply NOT good science!

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: SteveWeiler
    "Again, for a fair comparison, I'll note that you wouldn't have known that in 1953 either, though I'm not sure how many years or decades later Bannister stated his regret at choosing to participate in the DQ'd record attempt.

    The importance of pointing out the context is primarily to show that the pursuit of sub-4 helped shape the sport and, I believe, had an impact on the now common use of pacers. It also represented a similar pursuit of pushing the boundaries and breaking round numbers; lots in common with breaking 2 attempt, if you're able to appreciate the context of the respective eras."


    Steve, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD: I can appreciate the context of the respective eras and pushing the boundaries when trying to achieve a record. But a "record" is not a "record" unless it is achieved within the rules!

    And for the last time, I'm not opposed to the Breaking2 attempt itself. What I AM opposed to, and what I REFUSE to celebrate, is the scientific buffoonary going on that compares this attempt to the WR and considers this performance SUPERIOR to the current WR.

    It is NOT sound science to compare the results of 2 different experiments conducted under completely different conditions. So why are people comparing the Breaking2 time with the WR time?? As I've said, I am reading AHutch, TSOS, and other reputable sources - and ALL of them seem to be still figuring out what this actually meant. NOBODY understands EXACTLY the improvement from the shoes, drafting, moped, F1 track, etc. either INDIVIDUALLY or in COMBINATION on Kipchoge's time. This is an arbitrary result with no experimental control to compare against!

    So, what the heck is there to celebrate? For heaven's sake, why don't we just drop Kipchoge from the sky and have him running in air for 26.2 miles. "The clock doesn't lie" as someone in this thread has said.

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    From reading the Bannister history/accounts, you can see that, as is always true, every edge/advantage was being plumbed. As mentioned in this thread, Bannister's attempts at sub-4 in '53 failed, so he hooked up with Stampfl with a "new" training program that featured the 10x440yd workout done in a progressive fashion over that winter. That is the physical edge, but as the legend is told:

    >the May 6,1954 attempt was nearly called off because of high wind, but went ahead when the wind dropped
    >Bannister's spikes weighed 4.5 ounces -- much lighter than other shoes at the time. Bannister said: “I could see there was an advantage in having the shoe as light as possible. The leather is extremely thin and the spikes are unusually thin, as I used a grindstone to make them even thinner.
    >Bannister applied graphite to the spikes to prevent the track's cinders from glomming on

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    SteveWeiler said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "Steve, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD: I can appreciate the context of the respective eras and pushing the boundaries when trying to achieve a record. But a "record" is not a "record" unless it is achieved within the rules!"


    I'm not sure why you are yelling, but I think you're combining my posts with those of others. I went on a bit of tangent to disagree with your claim of Bannister using solely a training approach to break 4, thus presenting it as significantly different than Breaking 2. After beating that horse to death, it should be clear that Bannister's approach to breaking 4 went beyond simply adjusting his training and that it parallels what we're currently going through. That should be the end of this tangent.

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    Anonymous said 1 year ago

    They may be impressed because in his 2Hr marathon attempt EK ran 4 back to back 10Ks in 28:34 and tacked on 2K +/- to finish in 2:00:26. Only 2 Canadians have ever run faster than 28:34 in a road 10K. Maybe they think the run by EK is incredible and the alleged advantages from "Science" don't amount to all that much. They could be right.

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    "My error, I believe the IAAF wouldn't allow the Kipchoge record because of the use of drop-in pacers, who join after the start of the race. Interestingly, the same reason they disqualified Bannister's '53 mile record attempt."

    For this reason + the (intentionally proximal) car w. large timing board + the on-the-fly nutrition.

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    Thinking out loud said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "I never said the experiment wasn't cool. Just not comparable to the WR.

    This illustrates my point: You say he ran 2 and a half minutes FASTER than the WR.

    If we don't consider the factors that gave him an advantage, then he should be able to run 26 min flat for 10,000m on the track. Please don't take this as me insulting Kipchoge. I think he's an incredible runner and humble to boot. But he can't run 26min flat for 10,000m. Hence, some other factors were at play.

    Is it good science to compare results of experiments conducted with completely different factors??"


    Well EK never focused on the 10k, so what if we had KB in his track prime run a 10 000 with pacers the whole way. If he ran sub 25:45 could you at least acknowledge that EK's 2:00:25 was pretty stellar.

    As for the shoes I don't think that they are making a 4% difference. Think Rupp could only run 2:14/15 in Boston? Think KB would have run 2:06 in Berlin last year? Also, other companies have used plate technologies in road shoes (adidas had the pro plate or something of that nature). Just because Nike has curved it shouldn't be the thing pushing it too far. What about Boost foam giving a 1% improvement over other foam techs, too much?

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Quoting: SteveWeiler
    "I'm not sure why you are yelling, but I think you're combining my posts with those of others. I went on a bit of tangent to disagree with your claim of Bannister using solely a training approach to break 4, thus presenting it as significantly different than Breaking 2. After beating that horse to death, it should be clear that Bannister's approach to breaking 4 went beyond simply adjusting his training and that it parallels what we're currently going through. That should be the end of this tangent."


    Steve, I'm not yelling. It's just really frustrating to try and explain why this isn't necessarily a SUPERIOR performance to the current WR. I said that you made a good point with regards to Bannister (or other athletes) pushing the limits when trying to record break and conceded that point. But the '53 record was disallowed as it should have been - per the rules.

    To me, this field experiment is just that - an interesting experiment. It wasn't a race per the rules, and there's too many unknown factors to call the result "incredible". We just don't know if the difference was the technology, or the athlete. If we came up with technology to make a runner 10% faster, but they only run 5% faster, is this "incredible"??

    If the shoe technology is allowed (I expect it will be) and elites start taking a shot at the marathon WR on a flat F1 track (I expect they will do), expect a downward shift in times. Not by just Kipchoge, but by others as well. So, let's give this experiment a little time before calling it "incredible". At the moment we have no comparative data to make a sound scientific judgement - one way or the other.

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  • steveweiler User since:
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    SteveWeiler said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "Steve, I'm not yelling. It's just really frustrating to try and explain why this isn't necessarily a SUPERIOR performance to the current WR."


    Again, that's a conversation you're having with other posters, which I did not enter into. So, like a rabbit, I'll step off to the side now.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    "As for the shoes I don't think that they are making a 4% difference. Think Rupp could only run 2:14/15 in Boston? Think KB would have run 2:06 in Berlin last year? Also, other companies have used plate technologies in road shoes (adidas had the pro plate or something of that nature). Just because Nike has curved it shouldn't be the thing pushing it too far. What about Boost foam giving a 1% improvement over other foam techs, too much?"



    Totally agree. Four percent was just outrageous -- even by modern marketing standards!

    As Trent said, some "data" or rationalization will be published (today, I think it was) regarding the VaporFly shoe tech., but as he mentioned the "findings" -- as iseems to be typical in these cases -- will probably not use an elite-runner study group.

    TSOS reckoned that ~one percent would've been a significant accomplishment for Nike, but in light of the Breaking 2 experiment, one may hazard that it is even less than this.

    As for the ongoing shoe debate on any "unfair advantage", to me the only rule applied is that one cannot install a device that adds energy/power to the shoe. In the best-case scenario, a well-designed shoe will limit the kinetic energy lost and help maintain the leg muscles' efficiency over the length of a long event like the marathon. And as others have mentioned in this thread, how is what Nike (and the other shoe companies)is doing regarding midsole materials and devices any different than what has been done thus far?

    Empirically, runners can tell you that if you make a shoe too cushioned, it feels sluggish and lacks a "pop" off the running surface; if a shoe is too hard/firm, the shoe will offer little protection in the long run, and may contribute to muscle breakdown. And that is the rub.

    As well, IMHO, the IAAF has much bigger fish to fry than instituting comprehensive shoe checks and outlawing (perfectly reasonable) innovation!

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  • ahutch User since:
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    ahutch said 1 year ago

    A few brief thoughts...

    (1) The shoe technology is not "new." To give Canadian credit where it's due, the carbon fibre plates were developed at the University of Calgary in the 1990s, and implemented in Adidas shoes in the early 2000s. Geb used them to set a marathon world record in 2007, and a peer-reviewed study found they improved running economy, but they were discontinued because they were too expensive. The Nike version (developed by two University of Calgary grads) is a little more curved, which is possible because their new foam is light enough to incorporate a thick midsole without paying much weight penalty. Adidas saw an extra 1% from the plate plus 2% from their latest Boost foam; Nike is seeing 4% from their package, suggesting they tweaked things a little better. But there's no element of technology in these shoes that hasn't been deployed in competition for well over a decade. That doesn't mean the IAAF shouldn't consider whether to change the rules --I think that's worth considering--but the idea that this is some new abomination is simply wrong.

    The fact that running economy improves by 4% doesn't mean anyone (including Nike) expected that the runners would run 4% faster for a marathon. Real-world performance is very complex, and no on really knew (or knows) how big of an edge that would translate to. But given the size of the running economy change, they expected there would be *some* benefit.

    (2) The idea that the Tesla made a direct aerodynamic difference is completely at odds with all known data. Three studies over the years have examined the effects of drafting in runners at around two-hour pace; all have found that even drafting behind a single runner reduces the effects of air resistance by 80-85%. (Nike ran a fourth study, unpublished, with similar results.) That's different from cycling, because runners aren't tucked into an aerodynamic crouch--they actually make excellent wind shields. With the six-person arrowhead formation, held tightly together by the laser lines, there was virtually no effect of air resistance on Kipchoge. You could have put a Mack truck directly in front of the lead pacer, and it would have had almost no additional impact on Kipchoge at that speed (very slow by cycling standards). Moreover, Nike ran CFD simulations on the car to make sure there was no appreciable effect 6m back (let along ~12m back, where Kipchoge was running), and they also ran wind-tunnel tests to ensure there was no measurable change in VO2 or heart rate.

    I understand that it's tempting to believe this is all a big conspiracy. And frankly, if I was only getting this info from Nike PR, I'd be skeptical too. But I've had a chance to discuss this with a bunch of the scientists involved, both inside and outside Nike, including guys like Andy Jones who I've known for years before this project even started. I trust them when they tell me flat-out that this is what the testing found.

    (3) From a personal perspective, even knowing all the scientific "tricks" that went into speeding up the race conditions, the biggest surprise was how amazing the performance still felt. I guess despite being aware of all the science, deep down I still didn't believe a human would run that fast. It was amazing to see, and I do think it will recalibrate how people think about elite marathon times. That may mean we see a bunch of fast starts and big blow-ups at upcoming big-city marathons. Or maybe we'll see some breakthroughs. Time will tell.

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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    "That doesn't mean the IAAF shouldn't consider whether to change the rules --I think that's worth considering--but the idea that this is some new abomination is simply wrong."

    Thanks Hutch for this additional information. I agree with your "abomination" comment, but as to the earlier part of the sentence, why (and in what scenario) do you believe that there is merit in the IAAF changing the rules as regards shoe technology?

    Thanks.

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    Andrew Hogg said 1 year ago

    Thanks for taking the time to enlighten us about this Alex. I have been listening to your podcasts with great interest! I'm not sure either about people who believe this is a big conspiracy. Conspiracy against what? Quite the opposite has been true, as Nike as been very open about sharing the scientific "tricks" used to try an achieve sub 2. It's definitely grabbed the world's attention.

    1) I did listen to your description of the carbon plates developed at the U of Calgary. However, I also listened to the Nike scientist on the RW podcast describe the curvature and positioning of the plate in an innovative way, along with a new type of foam. "New" and "old" are ill-fitting terms with technology, but it does seem Nike has improved on the "old" at least. By how much... is currently still being debated! It is, as you say, hard to pin down an exact # on these things in real world tests.

    2) For me, this seems to highlight the fact that even science is in disagreement with what this performance meant!
    TSOS: "My opinion is that the single most effective tactic used on Saturday was to have Kipchoge run most of the distance close behind a Tesla vehicle onto which had been mounted a large wind shield pretending to be a clock."

    and again:

    "Yesterday, on Twitter, Alex Hutchinson raised a study where the drag co-efficient had been shown to be reduced by 85% through “perfect drafting”. This co-efficient is part of the calculation for the “aero power” explained above.

    The implications of an 85% reduction in this value are bizarre – it leads to an 85% reduction in “aero power” because they’re proportional. And I’ve not shown this level of draft efficiency in the graph above, because it’s almost twice what you get in cycling and thus I believe unreasonable for running"
    ...
    Therefore, I don’t think that the benefit of drafting behind other runners is as large as it has been made out to be. Certainly, what Nike did on Saturday with the wedge would be more efficient than anything ever seen before, but I cannot see how it can provide anything remotely close to an 85% benefit. The implication is ridiculous.

    ---

    Knowing your level of intelligence, I will go with what you say. But forgive me for my scepticism, as no one seems to understand clearly the effect all the "tricks" had - either individually or in combination with each other.

    3) Agreed 100%. Kipchoge executed this perfectly. If he didn't, I think everyone would have considered Breaking2 a failure and something not worth trying again.

    The analogies with cycling aren't perfect, but cycling did go through a similar experience with technology with the Unified Hour Record. They seemed at a cross-roads with whether technology was responsible for the performance, or the athlete. So, various aerodynamic positions were banned, the Athletes Hour Record was introduced (dialing back to older tech), and then finally the Unified Hour Record in 2014.

    I'm not saying we need to go this route in running. But there is similar debate going on here - was the science responsible for this, did Kipchoge just knock it out of the park, or was it a bit of both (technical innovation combined with superior preparation). I'd opt for the latter, since breaking 2 hours will require a bit of everything - this is something everyone already knew.

    I'm looking forward to more iterations of the same kind of thing. I'm sure there will now be more attempts organised on flat F1 tracks, with the running path marked, etc.. Will these scientific "tricks" cause a downward shift in times and by how much?

    I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of what you say on the sub-2 marathon and future attempts. Your depth of understanding and research is fascinating!

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  • ahutch User since:
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    ahutch said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Jones
    why (and in what scenario) do you believe that there is merit in the IAAF changing the rules as regards shoe technology?"


    My personal vision of sport (or at least of sports like running) is that the role of athlete should be maximized and the role of technology should be minimized. I like the idea of Olympic sports like sailing where you get issued a standard boat when you get to the Games; or in modern pentathlon, where you're issued a random horse instead of bringing your own.

    That's certainly not a straightforward line to draw, and I'm not suggesting we all run naked. But it makes me a little uneasy to consider the prospect of a shoe whose advantages are greater than the typical margin of victory in races, and which retails for $250 U.S. (when it becomes available, which it wasn't when runners wearing it swept the podium in the men's Olympic marathon).

    Maybe the actual advantage offered by the shoe will turn out to be more modest than the hype (and lab data) suggests. Or maybe similar shoes from other companies will help bring the price down and enable widespread access. So I'm in no rush to bring new rules in, but I think it's worth at least having the conversation.

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  • ahutch User since:
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    ahutch said 1 year ago

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "However, I also listened to the Nike scientist on the RW podcast describe the curvature and positioning of the plate in an innovative way, along with a new type of foam. "New" and "old" are ill-fitting terms with technology, but it does seem Nike has improved on the "old" at least."


    Thanks, Andrew. Yes, Nike definitely wants to emphasize what's new and different. And it seems clear that they've improved both the plate and the foam, and deserve credit for that. I just wanted to emphasize that these are evolutions, not revolutions.

    Quoting: Andrew Hogg
    "For me, this seems to highlight the fact that even science is in disagreement with what this performance meant!"


    Yes, fair point. And I should emphasize that I remain open to the possibility that the Tesla played a role, if anyone presents any data supporting that claim. Ross simply doesn't believe that drafting (behind humans) has significant benefits, contrary to the three studies that have actually looked at the question. His primary argument is that if drafting had a noticeable effect, all world record attempts would show a slowdown after the pacers dropped out. Of course, many do (particularly the unsuccessful ones); perhaps the successful runs are those where the runner stays somewhat within him/herself until the second half of the race.

    What has rankled me a little bit is all the articles and discussions I've seen that basically say "It's been proven that the Tesla was the biggest factor in Kipchoge's run." That's a dramatic overstatement.

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  • new-post-last-visitanonymous Anonymous
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    Andrew Jones said 1 year ago

    Thanks Alex. It is interesting that, as you mention re. the Olympic arena, in a sport like sailing/yachting all are issued with a standard piece of equipment, but yet in Olympic rowing I believe the crews get to use their own boats (I don't know the rules here, but the boat material, design, and dimension is likely quite prescripted). I suppose when the IOC allows the ISOs to run each "tournament" you will see these inconsistencies, but as you mention in your sports vision, this introduces additional variables (and accessibility limitations, when it comes to, say, swimsuits and shoes) that seem to go against a certain purity of sport.

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