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The Nike ZoomX Vaporfly Next%. Screenshot: Nike.com

Last weekend, Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon in under 2 hours and Brigid Kosgei shattered the women's marathon record.

Why it matters: "It appears that running, the original and most elemental of sports, now faces the same tradition vs. scientific innovation challenge that other sports have encountered," writes NYT's Amby Burfoot.

  • "Think: tennis rackets, baseball bats and, perhaps most similar, competition swimwear — those polyurethane-based suits that were banned starting in 2010."

Key detail: They were both wearing a pair of Nike shoes called the "Vaporfly," which have proven controversial because of the performance boost they seem to provide.

  • In the last 13 months alone, male runners have recorded the 5 fastest marathon times ever — all while wearing a version of the "Vaporfly."
  • Why they're better: They have a carbon fiber plate embedded in the midsole, which acts as a spring and provides more energy return.

Driving the news: After receiving numerous complaints from runners who believe the shoes provide an unfair advantage, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has put together a team to "consider the issues."

The bottom line: The outcome of this debate will affect everything from stock prices (Nike and their competitors) to who wins the marathon at the 2020 Olympics.

  • P.S. ... Speaking of the 2020 marathon, the IOC announced on Wednesday that it will be held in Sapporo, rather than Tokyo, due to heat concerns.

Go deeper

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent. 

6 mins ago - Health
Axios Investigates

Documents reveal the secrecy of America's drug pricing matrix

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American businesses spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and the bills keep getting bigger. But some of the companies promising to help rein in those costs prevent employers from looking under the hood.

Why it matters: Documents provided to Axios reveal a new layer of secrecy within the maze of American drug pricing — one in which firms that manage drug coverage for hundreds of employers, representing millions of workers, obscure the details of their work and make it difficult to figure out whether they're actually providing a good deal.

Right wing builds its own echo chamber

Expand chart
Data: Apptopia; Table: Axios Visuals

Conservatives are aggressively building their own apps, phones, cryptocurrencies and publishing houses in an attempt to circumvent what they see as an increasingly liberal internet and media ecosystem.

Why it matters: Many of these efforts couldn't exist without the backing of major corporate figures and billionaires who are eager to push back against things like "censorship" and "cancel culture."

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