On Saturday 6th May, history was made. It was not the history that Nike and running fans around the world were hoping for - the elusive sub-two hour marathon - but it was history all the same. Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in 2:00:25, obliterating the current world record of 2:02:57 set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya in 2014. He did not break the two hour mark as intended and his record will not count due to the in-out pace runners, but it doesn't matter: history was made.
Kipchoge lined up on the start line at the Monza F1 track in Italy at 4:45am along with Zersenay Tedese and Lelisa Desisa. The setting had been methodically chosen as the perfect environment for the attempt - the 2.4km laps allowed Nike to strategically place aid stations and pace runner changeovers at the ideal locations. It was partly because of these artificial and highly-controlled conditions that many runners and commentators had criticised the attempt - that and the fact that they were running directly behind a pace car.
As much a scientific experiment as moment in sporting history, Breaking2 was designed to redefine the parameters of human performance. To run a sub two hour marathon, the three runners would have to cover each 5km segment in 14:14 - anyone who's turned up to a parkrun on a Saturday morning will testify to the blistering pace that represents, particularly if repeated over eight times.
Although the conditions were heavily controlled, nothing should be taken away from Kipchoge as an athlete. He ran an incredible time and came unbearably close to breaking the two-hour mark, something that has been called impossible by some. Running at an average pace of around four minutes and 36 seconds per mile, the Olympic champion was astounding on the track - Tedese and Desisa dropped off many miles before the end, but Kipchoge barely looked to be trying until the final half hour, when his gritted teeth and spasms of discomfort betrayed the enormity of the challenge ahead of him. Will he try again? It's unclear whether Saturday's performance was the absolute maximum of Kipchoge's abilities - or if, were the conditions even more favourable, he could shave off those 26 seconds.
What lies ahead will be interesting to follow. Adidas, Nike's big corporate rival, have confirmed plans to attempt a sub two hour marathon, but allegedly in a race setting - something that will please the running purists who condemned Breaking2. Nike may announce a second attempt; no doubt that by analysing the reams of data they will have collected on Saturday, they could create ever more favourable circumstances to run in. In which case, it will become a race to the finish line between the two running giants; a corporate space race in which to frame this moonshot attempt.