Ben Geman May 6, 2017
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Nike's two-hour marathon test falls just short

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.