Formula One 2017 looks set to be a championship in which setting new lap records will become the norm. Over the past decade the FIA have put in place evolving technical regulations aimed at controlling outright vehicle performance and ensuring driver safety. As technical capabilities have developed the rationale for controlling speeds on safety grounds has diminished. The 2017 the FIA have responded to this by modifying technical regulation to give teams a freedom to chase those long held lap records. As F1 heads to towards the season opener in Melbourne in less than 3 weeks time, many predict lap time improvements of 3-4 seconds per lap. Should this be achieved every lap record held on an F1 circuit will be broken this season.
Chasing outright performance in sport is not something held exclusively to motorsport. For years professional marathon runners have been chasing the illusive sub 2 hour target. The current record was set by Dennis Kimetto (Kenya) at the Berlin Marathon in 2014. He set a time of 2:02:57. When defining targets for 2017, Nike have mapped out a project to support a challenge for athletes to not only better this time, but finally break the 2 hour record.
Nike unveils a shoe for the three guys trying to run 1:59:59—as well as two models for the rest of us. https://t.co/v0PO8M57lq pic.twitter.com/gVmXu0aj2J
— Runner’s World (@runnersworld) March 7, 2017
You may ask why would Nike to get involved in, let alone lead such a project. The answer is clear and quite logical. To be the footwear manufacturer that powered the first athlete to complete a sub 2 hour marathon would give Nike the ultimate bragging rights. Nike would become the brand of choice for those amateur runners seeking that additional edge (Like me! 3:24.55 London 2016) Competitors to Nike are of course Savvy to this, in fact there is something of akin to the space race taking place in the footwear industry at the moment as manufacturers rush to pull together there own sub 2 hour project.
However, Nike have been first to go public with their attempt. In defining the project they have identified the most suitable location for the attempt as Monza. The lack of undulation and consistent surface of the circuit is perfectly suited to the requirements of their athletes. Current weather conditions as we head into spring as perfect for such an attempt. The precise timing behind the attempt has not yet been revealed. Yesterday the team of athletes involved attempted a sub 1 hour half marathon with Eliud Kipchoge and. Zersenay Tadese finishing with times of 59:17 & 59:41 respectively.
To keep up to date with the challenge head to Runners World through this link