The Quest To Run The Impossible Marathon
“The marathon event has undergone a revolution in the past few years, and the world’s best male runners can see, but not touch, the near mythic two-hour mark.”
Ed Caesar sets the scene brilliantly at one stage in this exciting book, when he compares mankind’s quest to run a marathon in just under the two hour mark to that of George Mallory’s first serious ascent of Mount Everest. Just like Mallory’s adventure, the route to success has been planned and thought out to the smallest detail but executing these strategies comes with a terrifying prospect of total failure or an excruciating near-miss.
People still celebrate Roger Bannister today as the man who finally broke the four minute mile record. Just like putting a man on the moon, when something big is achieved that has never been done before, our attention is firmly grabbed and it inspires all of mankind. When boundaries are broken, beliefs end up shattered and previously unknown territories are opened up for future generations to explore.
Ed Caesar’s book is an exciting ride through the history of the marathon and covers all of the sciences and stories that you need to understand the exciting prospect of someone very soon possibly breaking the two hour mark.
Since the book was published in 2015, much progress has been made to edge closer and closer to the mark. Eliud Kipchoge currently leads the charge of potential runners who can break the mark. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly recommend you watch the 55-minute National Geographic documentary of Nike’s Breaking Two attempt.
At just 217 pages, this book reads very much like a long form article that will hold your attention throughout. Caesar weaves the trials and tribulations of Geoffrey Mutai’s running career through his study of the marathon and this gives the book a real sense of heart by reminding us that those who attempt to break the record are flesh and blood just like the reader.
Eliud Kipchoge will once again attempt to break the two-hour barrier in Vienna on 12 October this year. After some of his recent performances, few would bet against him. Reading this book before his next effort can only add to the experience of witnessing enormous history being made.
“Anything is possible, everything is possible.”