IAAF probing Kipchoge’s sub 2 hr marathon Nike shoe

World athletics governing body, the IAAF is investigating whether the specially made Nike shoe that Olympics marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge will use in his bid to break the two hour barrier at the distance are legal.

According to a report on the Guardian, the shoes in question are at the centre of the US-based sportswear company Nike’s Breaking2 project where three athletes are training to be the first men in history to run under 2:00.

The concerns arise barely a day after the three-man team –Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, and Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese – stepped onto a racetrack in Italy for a real-world test of the Breaking2 team’s plans and progress.

Olympic and double London marathon winner Kipchoge ran an impressive half marathon time of 59:17 to beat the pre-event goal of 60:00 followed by Zersenay Tadese in 59:41 while Lelisa Desisa lagged behind in 62:55.

Nike’s announcement that the three will use new the newly shoe model, Zoom Vaporfly Elite which will contain a special carbon fibre plate in its sole has triggered intensified investigations into the next generation of marathon shoes.

Now, the IAAF is to beef up its investigations into the next generation of marathon shoes, amid concerns some may contain illegal springs.

The potential intervention by athletics’ governing body came on the day Nike revealed the design of its new Zoom Vaporfly Elite shoe, to be used by athletes attempting to break two hours for the marathon, will contain a special carbon fibre plate in its sole.

A spokesman for Nike said the shoe, which the company believes makes runners 4 per cent more efficient compared to its previous fastest marathon trainer, adheres to the specifications of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

When the IAAF were contacted and asked whether Nike’s carbon fibre plate was legal, a spokesman said they were interested in the technical advances but wanted to make sure the shoes – and shoes from other manufacturers – conformed to its rules.

“We are aware of the speculation around the shoe and have received inquiries about new designs of shoes currently being worn by elite athletes,” said a spokesman.

“However this is not linked to just one manufacturer. There is development in shoe tech across the board.

“Because of this speculation and the increased interest in the development in this area the IAAF is going to discuss shoe approval processes as defined by the competition rules as part of the agenda at the IAAF technical committee in two weeks’ time in Zaragoza, Spain, to see if we need to change or review approvals.”

There has been growing speculation about Nike footwear over the past year, with the former Nike Oregon Project member Steve Magness and the sports scientist Ross Tucker questioning whether springs were used in the shoes worn by the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele at the Dubai marathon last month.

Nike has also revealed its ambitious project to break the two-hour mark for the marathon will take place later this spring at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza complex in northern Italy, on a 2.4km course.

The course has been selected because the average temperature is expected to be around 12C with very little wind, which is ideal for racing.

Three Nike athletes have been training for the attempt, including the double London marathon winner and Olympic champion Kipchoge. However most experts believe the attempt to go under two hours for the marathon is more about promoting Nike’s new range of shoes than a serious attempt on a record that few believe can be broken under IAAF rules.

-Report sourced from the Guardian