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Luca Bruno / AP

The distance runner Eliud Kipchoge completed the quickest marathon ever Saturday in two hours, 25 seconds under tightly-controlled conditions on a Formula One racetrack in Italy.

Nike project: Kipchoge's remarkable run was the showcase of Nike's big Breaking2 initiative, a multi-year, science-driven project to break the two-hour marathon barrier. (Getting under two hours would require a runner to average 4 minutes, 34 seconds per mile for the 26.2 mile distance.)

One level deeper: The athletes wore customized Nike shoes with a carbon-fiber plate that have attracted some controversy, per NYT, even though shoe design rules for standard marathons are vague.

Why it matters: Breaking2 has been a major effort by Nike to push the boundaries of running performance, while interest in the project and Nike's careful rollout has been a significant marketing opportunity for the retail giant.

One big question: Whether and when the otherworldly Kipchoge can break the world record under sanctioned conditions, and how fast he can go while still in his prime (he's 32). September's Berlin marathon, where the last several men's world records have been set, would be a logical place.

What they're saying: Sports scientist Ross Tucker predicts that Kipchoge could run around two hours and two minutes or slightly slower in a race like Berlin.

Why it's not a world record: Kipchoge ran 2 minutes and 32 seconds faster than the current world record, set by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014. But the sophisticated use of a rotating squad of pacemakers and mobile delivery of drink bottles during the event were outside the rules for record-sanctioned events.

Corporate battle: Nike is releasing a retail version of its Vaporfly shoe in June, while rival Adidas has a competing project called Sub2 and a competing shoe. Bloomberg breaks down the corporate rivalry here.

Go deeper

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
51 mins ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.