It's going to be a nerve-racking day in the running world – and one literally going downhill – when four runners from Mikkeller's professional running club try to set an impossible record.
On September 22, Mikkeller and Albatros Adventure Marathons launch the World's Fastest Marathon in the hopes of finding a runner who can achieve the goal of completing a marathon in under two hours.
Two years ago, three top-tier Nike-sponsored long-distance runners were ready in position to accomplish exactly this. On May 6, 2017, with perfectly designed running shoes, Tesla pace cars, and a solid shield provided by the world's best runners, Nike tried to beat the world record in marathon distance with a goal time of under two hours. It did not happen. With a time of 2:00:25, both Nike and frontrunner Eliud Kipchoge had to bitterly acknowledge that the project had not been a success.
Now, Mikkeller running club HMRC will take up the challenge and try to achieve the impossible. Four HMRC runners will partake in the World's Fastest Marathon, attempting to become the first ever to run 42.195 kilometers in under two hours. Along with Albatros Adventure Marathons, Mikkeller has planned the race and carefully organized the route, which passes through the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountain range in Spain.
Why did Mikkeller join this project?
“Running has become a large and important part of Mikkeller, and this is the biggest challenge in racing. We followed Nike's attempt closely, and they came very close to succeeding. Since then, brands have experimented with new types of footwear, etc., and we got the idea to introduce a new course of action – namely, 42 kilometers downhill. It will be great if we can contribute and witness a runner break that magic sub-2 boundary. The runner who does that will go down in history”, explains head of Mikkeller's running clubs, Søren Runge.
The four HMRC-runners trying to beat the record: Abere Derese Worke, Chala Bekele Begena, Julius Karinga & Antony Karinga
The route is 100% downhill with an average descent of 4.6%, which will ensure that running tempos remain high. The starting line is positioned at an altitude of 2,605 meters (8,546 feet). The route continues around the ski resort town of Pradollano; this mountain range is, in fact, the highest point in continental Spain.
From the 8.5-kilometer mark, the route continues down A-395, a mountain road leading to the town of Granada. The halfway mark is positioned at an altitude of approximately 1,700 meters (5,577 feet).
Approximately 10 kilometers before the finish line, runners will pass the village of Canales, then turn off A-395 to run through the villages of Pinos Genil and Cenes de la Vega. At this point, the road's downward gradient will flatten slightly, but will still continue downhill – all the way to the finish line at Celador Del Paseo Del Salon, a beautiful park in the center of Granada.
Surely some would say that it is cheating when the route goes downhill?
“You can say that, and we are aware that the record will not be officially approved as a world record – just as Nike's race was not because they used pacemakers, amongst other things. But the fact is that if a runner has run the full marathon distance in under two hours, then it happened. And no one can take that from that runner. It is also a race where all participants have the opportunity to shave many minutes off their best times”, says Søren Runge.
The World's Fastest Marathon has just been approved as a verified Boston Marathon qualifier.
MIKKELLER'S RUNNING CLUBS
HMRC (Hechmann Mikkeller Racing Club)
Founded in 2017.
Is Mikkeller's elite club for running talent, with 21 runners.
The training is based on running coach Claus Hechmann's principles.
MMRC (Mersha Mikkeller Running Club)
Is HMRC's sister group for Ethiopian running talent, trained by Mersha Asrat, who is also the trainer of Olympic Gold winner and record holder Kenenisa Bekele.
The club has 20 runners.
MRC (Mikkeller Running Club)
Founded in 2014.
Is for everyone.
Has 250 chapters worldwide, with around 20,000 runners.
Albatros Adventure Marathons
Arranges seven major marathons around the world.
Albatros Adventure Marathons is a part of Albatros Travel.
Read more about how running fits in Mikkeller's universe here: