Is Running a Marathon Under Two Hours Possible ?

 

Is running a marathon under two hours possible?  Will a human ever be able to run that fast? Currently, the world record for the 42.195 km (26.219 miles) distance is held by the Kenyan Dennis Kimetto. His time of 2:02:57 hours was achieved at the Berlin Marathon of 2014.

For many years, long distance runners have been trying to get nearer and nearer to the magical mark of two hours. Studies published in the past by medical and athletic experts have come to the conclusion that running a marathon under 2 hours can be done. They even see a time of around 1:57 as the fastest a human can ever run. However, we will have to wait at least a decade or longer for this to happen.

Many things must fit together to deliver an under two-hour marathon. An athlete would have to have the perfect body size and weight, the right running strategy and of course, the right nutrition.

Today's perfect runners come from Kenya and Ethiopia, countries that have dominated long distance races for decades. East African athletes have long legs and lungs that can take in lots of oxygen. Training at high altitudes gives them a  strong heart  and a  tremendous blood volume.

Ideal weather conditions with cool temperatures and virtually no wind will also be needed to attempt such a mark. An ultra-fast marathon would only be possible on flat city courses, like Berlin or London, with few curves.

 

Since the beginning of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, athletes have tried to run long distance races as fast as possible. In 1900, the marathon world record was at around 3 hours. In the following 30 years, men were able to reach a mark of 2:30 . As time went on achieving faster times became more and more difficult. In the last 15 years, for example, the world record has improved  by only 3 minutes.

On the other side, some experts think that such fast performances will only be possible with the help of unallowed substances. In the past years, several East African runners have been tested positive and many of them banned.

 

Is Running a marathon under two hours possible ?

Berlin Marathon - Image: Maarten van Maanen

 

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Words

  • achieve = do be able to do something that you have always wanted, especially after hard work
  • altitude = height above sea level
  • athletic = here: about running
  • attempt = try
  • ban = not  allow an athlete to take part
  • conclusion = opinion that you have after you have gone through the facts
  • currently = right now, at the moment
  • decade = ten years
  • deliver = here: run
  • dominate = here: to be the best in the world
  • fit = here: many things must happen to make something work
  • flat = here: without any hilly parts
  • human = person
  • improve = to become better
  • long distance = a long way
  • lung = organ in your body that allows you to take in air and breathe
  • mark = here: time you want to reach
  • nutrition = food that you eat
  • oxygen = colourless gas that is in the air that we breathe
  • performance =   here: running time
  • publish = to release ; show to the public and the media
  • reach = get to
  • several = some
  • size = how big something is
  • strategy = plan
  • studies = work that is done to find out more about a subject
  • take in = here: breathe
  • test positive = to have drugs or other unallowed substances in your body
  • tremendous = very big
  • ultra-fast = extremely fast
  • unallowed substance = drugs or other medicine that you take which are  not allowed
  • virtually = almost
  • weight = how heavy something  is
  • world record = the fastest time that anyone on earth has ever achieved