How fast can they run these marathon things?

2 hours 3 minutes and 38 seconds is the current world record set last year in the Berlin Marathon by Patrick Makau Musyoki.  That’s an incredible time.  Average pace around 4 minutes 43 seconds per mile – for 26.2 of them.  And Roger did just one in just under 4 minutes a few years back (see last post).  That’s a long long sprint that Patrick did.  Nothing short of awesome running.  And in the morning of that world record run, he said his body wasn’t feeling good.  It’s clearly a perception thing…

Not only can he do the marathon in just over 2 hours but he can run a 1/2 marathon in 58 minutes and 52 seconds (but that’s only the 6th fastest 1/2 marathon time ever).  And about 5 miles ahead of me!

Can we (and I use “we” in the very wide human sense) ever break 2 hours?  Or is there some physiological limit built in to us?  Current consensus is that yes we can do it and we will – it might take another 20 years or so but it will be broken.  Which makes sense – we’re so close now and have come down by nearly 50 minutes in the last 100 years.  It will just require someone with the genes all right and perfect race conditions (and a little bit of hard training).

Here’s a great article on from the BBC on this – written in April 2011 before Patrick broke the record.

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