The club for runners in Saratoga Springs, NY

Two Hours: The Quest to Run the Impossible Marathon, by Ed Caesar

26 Apr 2016 8:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
Seemingly in another lifetime ago, the quest to break the four-minute mile was considered impossible.  Now, somewhat routinely, this feat is achieved by high school track stars.  And we wonder why we ever thought the four minute barrier was the stuff of dreams.  
    Now the two-hour marathon is the new pie-in-the-sky goal. But as journalist Ed Caesar points out, there is a reason why this new quest seems so drawn out. Because of the longer distance involved,  a super elite marathoner will most likely have only two goal marathons per year, occurring at regularly scheduled events, regardless of weather predictions.  Milers can push themselves to the limit more often.  
    In his book, Two Hours, Ed Caesar examines the ramifications of this reality in the context of the great Kenyan runner, Geoffrey Mutai. And while he openly discusses the drug issue in Kenya, a land formerly considered relatively “clean,” since this book’s 2015 publication date, the full extent of Kenyan athletes’ involvement has deepened.  Perhaps the question should be: Is a drug-free two-hour marathon even possible?
    Which leads to another question.  Track meets do not require year-long planning, but marathons do.  If a leading contender is indisposed on that particular day of the year, he might have to content himself with a less fortuitous course.  Should a record-breaking attempt be staged, perhaps by big-name shoe sponsors, to provide every possible terrain advantage?  Or would that in itself be another form of cheating?
    One thing is certain, once the wall is broached, the two-hour mark will mentally seem “easy” and more will inevitably follow.  Leading to the next impossible goal….

Reviewed by laura clark

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