Kipchoge and Nike Did Good

I waited a couple of days to sort out my thoughts on Nike’s #breakingtwo and what Eliud Kipchoge accomplished on Friday/Saturday morning. I also waited for most of the hue and cry to fade away, otherwise my two cents would just be added noise to the already unhealthy decibel levels.

No, I didn’t stay up to watch the event, I had thought about it and decided that while it would nice to watch live a potentially historic moment in running, the call of the pit monster was too strong.

I slept soundly and well through #breakingtwo attempt.

Plus I figured that I would get to read and hear all about whatever happened on Facebook and other blogs the next morning. Yep, the hue and cry was deafening and from what I could see almost everyone was singing their praises to Eliud Kipchoge effort and for running the World’s fastest known Marathon distance at 2:00:25. 

I think it was Gary Allen who said some along these lines in one of his Facebook posts on this “Go out and run one lap around a track in 68 seconds and then do it again for the entire marathon distance – that is what Kipchoge did.”

Hell I don’t know if I can still run one, much less two 68 second 400 meters in a row nowadays.

Impressive as hell is all I can say.

Kipchoge did the work and damn near did #breaktwo. For what it is worth Mr. Kipchoge has my utmost respect as a runner, for being willing to “go for it” and then the ability, drive and willpower to have come so close to breaking two hours in a time trial.

Good on him.

I believe Kipchoge got close enough to #breakingtwo and did break the mental barrier stopping runners from believing they can break two hours for the marathon distance. However, he could not have done it on his own and owes an awful lot of his record attempt to Nike’s support.

Let’s move on to Nike.

In my mind this was one of the best marketing campaigns that I have seen any running shoe brand run in the past several years. It generated a great deal of interest in running and their product lines, during their audacious attempt for one of “their” athletes to break two hours for the marathon distance.

As much respect and love as Kipchoge is receiving for his running, Nike the company behind this event has been shit on quite a bit from some in the running community for having the audacity to use this event that they have funded, coordinated, took a chance on failing in public and made it happen

Then was willing to use this #breakingtwo attempt as part of their marketing campaign to gasp “sell Nike shoes and gear”.

How could that ever happen?

Nike is a big corporation that spends millions of dollars in research and development, putting together a risky LIVE event that could have completely blown-up in their faces, so why shouldn’t they use their event to market their products as well.

It was not an open competition, it was a Nike only event, which is their choice.

From what I saw Nike consistently said this was a race against the clock and readily acknowledged to everyone that listened before-hand, that this event was a time trial to see if it could be done.

Even so the negativity of so many “experts”, commentators and runners was extra ordinary for an event like this. They seemed to be the negative Nike story lines whenever/wherever they could.

From my little cat bird’s seat, Nike is a corporation that is in the business of selling their product and attempting to find innovative ways to improve their market share – which remains dominate – which bothers more than a few people. This #breakingtwo attempt event was a great way to show runners and others that Nike remains on the leading edge of research & development to move the running and their product lines forward technologically.

It worked, Nike’s gamble on #breakingtwo and it generated millions of comments, viewers and got the running world and beyond talking about Nike on social media and in the news for mostly positive reasons.

How will it garner sales of their products remains to be seen, but in the public relations department, it definitely did lots of positive things.

However, I for one do not plan to go out any time soon and spend $250 for a pair of running shoes, but like many others I believe they will sell all of them that they make. Hell, getting me to spend over $100 is pretty damn difficult, but I might be tempted when the leftovers (if there are any) are sold on clearance.

Let’s be real

I am not affiliated with Nike in any way shape or manner and don’t owe or show any kind of brand loyalty to any brand. However, at the same time over the past 40+ years I have been a runner, I have probably run in more Nike running shoes (I am currently running in the Vomero 11’s I got on clearance) and owned more Nike running apparel than any other brand.

No, I don’t always agree with the way Nike does things, quite honestly they do have an image problem with some things (they are too big and too successful for their own good, at least that is the perception many in the U.S. have), when it comes to dominating track and field the way that they do things that some questions their ethics and there is a LOT of smoke/allegations around some of their athletes being dirty when it comes to pushing the envelope on better running through modern chemistry.

In other words they are not the Underdog that everyone wants to cheer for.

Their what some have called a two-hour plus infomercial on #breakingtwo for the marathon distance worked just about perfectly for Nike and their marketing department. Plus a LOT of their athletes and staff got a free working vacation in Italy, which was cool for them.

Yes, I still see the snarky comments from some about Nike, he was dirty and Nike pushed him to use whatever, the usual #don’tbuynike memes and so forth.

However, those comments are in the minority and most of the publicity has been positive and the reaction to Kipchoge’s herculean effort have been overwhelming supportive.

For all the Nike haters out there, you lost and Nike won this round convincingly.

No, their athlete did not break two hours for 26.2 miles, but Kipchoge did come close and showed that breaking two hours is possible under the right conditions. All of the research, time and money that Nike put into this project was a success in their and many runner’s eyes – mine included.

This #breakingtwo event was audacious and a GREAT marketing effort on the part of a running brand.

I wonder if the Italians will attempt to put on an Elite marathon sponsored by Nike on that course, with it being by invitation only and seeing how a real race would do on that fast course?

Time to see where the elite marathoners go from here and maybe time for someone else to see if the old body can hold up to the distance for a final push for a dream.

Either way…

Congratulations Nike, from one of the nobodies out here in the wild – you did good this time.

9 thoughts on “Kipchoge and Nike Did Good

  1. I agree – there is a lot of emotion out there, but I really have none. Because while I would really like to see the sub-2hr happen ‘organically’ at an actual race … someone still has to actually run it in order to have it happen!
    The time achieved was nothing short of incredible. So definitely congratulations are in order.
    Does it deserve to be called an ‘official world record’? Probably not. Boston is not ‘world record eligible’, same for many other places. This race on a race track … probably about the same.
    But that isn’t really what it was about … it was about trying, in a controlled setting, to achieve what was considered ‘impossible’. And they came really close.
    I have heard it called ‘a stunt’. OF COURSE it was a stunt … but that doesn’t make it any less amazing. I’m with you – good on Nike for putting out a lot of effort and money to see if they could help make the impossible, possible.

    1. I would like to see sub 2:00:00 happen in a race, whether it is sanctioned or one like Boston doesn’t matter to me. However, the runners out there had to know they could do it and now I have a pretty good feeling that there are elite runners out there that are now ready to try it. What Kipchoge did is not a world record it was a time trial to prove a point, but in my mind it is the fastest known time for the marathon distance. It was a stunt that will pay dividends down the road for all runners, just like dragsters and NASCAR vehicle have a trickle down effect on the technology that us mere mortals drive around in everyday. Runners will get the trickle down effect in the gear, training methods and other tricks of the trade that elite now use – well that is part of the plan of being like Mike – right hehehhe 🙂

      1. You made the point the other day about how we romanticize the old days of shoes … but that we would HATE them now. Heck, we were at the outlet stores a few weeks ago and I tried on a pair of Nike Free RN and the tongue was awful – but I know it was better than what I would have been running in back in 1989 or so!

      2. I can’t imagine going back to running in my old “favorites” they would more than likely destroy my feet. The Breaking Two shoes interest me, but I don’t ever see me having a pair, they are simply above and beyond my needs as the runner I am now. I would definitely be injured in short order in pair of them I am sure – trying to run way too fast for what this body is now able to do regularly. But it would be a hoot to try them out once or twice 😉

  2. I agree as well. I’m an adidas fan for all except running shoes, but I do respect what Nike did and don’t begrudge them the marketing ploy while getting everyone involved into running.

    1. I love adidas boost series shoes except they are so narrow in the toe box, that except for the Adios 3 I can’t wear them unless I they are size 10, then they are a bit long for someone with size 7.5 to 8.0 Hobbit feet 🙂 It will be interesting to see where the other brands take the gauntlet that Nike has thrown down and if time trials will become a more prevalent event in running. Lots of good and bad points to be seen in them.

      1. I think time trials will still be attempted, but they’re not going to replace the love of races. Shame about the shoe issue, but I know what you mean. I have rather narrow feet, so a lot of shoes are too wide for me, even as normal size.

      2. No time trials should never replace races, but be done to prove a point or move the bar a little beyond what a race will allow. In a time trial if someone blows up it is not really a big deal. In a race, well that is very different you are competing with other athletes and at the elite level that most of us know little to nothing about. Racing is against opponents to beat them and the time is secondary. For most mortals that run in races it is less about the other competitors and more about the internal competition.

        Yeah having feet too narrow or too wide makes shoes a pain, but it is what it is we just keep going on. 🙂

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