Eliud Kipchoge is the first and only man to break the 2-hour barrier in the marathon with a time of 1:59:40. He set the marathon world record of 2:01:39 on 16 September 2018, at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His run broke the previous world record by 1 minute and 18 seconds. It was the greatest improvement in a marathon world record time since 1967.
The special sub-two-hour marathon had some things that are not permitted for an official record
* There was a rotating team of pacing runners. Most did not start the race with Kipchoge. They helped him psychologically maintain the pace and provided 1-2% of lower energy for drafting
* The Nike shoe technology could also provide a few percentage points of benefit
* People of bicycles provided water. Kipchoge did not have to slow down for a water station.
* The track was nearly level and the cooler weather were more optimal for setting marathon records
* The course had minimal turns
On May 6, 2017, Eliud Kipchoge was involved in another special event to break the two-hour barrier which also used many pace runners and other special conditions. He had a time of 2:00:25. This new run was 45 seconds faster.
The new special time is 1.7% faster than Kipchoge’s official world record.
The shoe technology involves carbon fiber plates which help with the foot recoil while running. If Nike were required to permit other running shoemakers to adopt this technology then the shoe will not be banned.
Augmented reality systems for marathon training could provide marathoners with the rhythm and psychological benefit of faster pace runners. This could help them to remember and get used to running faster.
Marathon sporting events will likely start choosing flatter courses with fewer turns. Many of the gains for sprinters have come from improvements in the technology and the design of running tracks.
Marathons could also schedule and locate marathons during cooler times of the year and at locations closer to sea level.
There are about ten marathons in 2019 who have had sub-2-hour five minute times.
It seems likely that there will soon be official marathons with times below two hours.