Updated: Apr 14, 2020
In these times of uncertainty, one thing is certain – runners are getting faster at the most popular race distances. More new records have been broken in the past few months than they have at any other time in history. Even though Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge October marathon time of 1:59:40.2 has not been ratified (and won’t be), it is still one of the most astounding accomplishment any distance runner has ever done. And this incredible time was achieved just one month after Kipchoge set the official marathon record in Berlin, with a time of 2:01:39. For years, critics and pundits alike have debated whether or not anyone could break the two-hour barrier for the 26.2 mile run.
Debates were common in the 1950’s as to whether man could break the 4:00 minute mark for the mile. Once Roger Bannister broke that record in 1954, the record was shattered over and over through the years. Will this be the case for the marathon record, as these great runners edge closer to this so-called barrier of human performance? As technology in shoes and equipment continue to evolve, so have the diagnostic tools, the biological feedback and the potential for performance increases. These special athletes aren’t just using their genetic gifts for this uplift in performance. Running has become equal parts of science and athleticism in recent years, further developing and further enhancing their capabilities.
Take a look at some of the recent records which have been shattered in just the past fourteen months.
5km (road) - 12:51 Joshua Cheptegei 2/16/2020 UGA
10km (road) - 26:24 Rhonex Kipruto 1/20/2020 KEN
Half Marathon - 58:01 Geoffrey Kamworor 9/15/2019 KEN
Marathon - 2:01:39 Eliud Kipchoge 9/16/2019 KEN
Mile 4:12 - Sifan Hassan 7/12/2019 NED
5km (road) - 14:44 Sifan Hassan 2/17/2019 NED
Half Marathon - 1:04:31 Ababel Yeshaneh 2/21/2020 ETH
Marathon - 2:14:04 Bridid Kosgei 10/13/2019 KEN
More than likely, these records will continue to fall as math, science and human anatomy continue to merge. At what point will the records plateau again? Only time will tell.