At the core of Breaking2 were three runners—Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese, and Lelisa Desisa—who sought to beat a two-hour marathon pace. Since 2014, Nike has supported the mission of breaking the two-hour marathon barrier, which would mean besting the record time by an unthinkable three minutes. The attempt would be evidence that Nike will never stop pushing sports forward and supporting athletes’ ambitions.
A moonshot of human potential and an earned media blockbuster.
Nike joined forces with a number of partners, including W+K, Uncle Toad’s Media Group, Dirty Robber, and Mindshare, to bring the monumental event to life. In its quest to engage with a new breed of runners, Nike live-streamed the event on YouTube and Twitter.
Something of this magnitude had never been attempted before by a sports brand, and it created a level of engagement far beyond the norms of a major U.S. marathon. It demonstrated that Nike’s belief in the power of sport to take on the impossible resonates with and engages not just athletes but popular culture at large. The project showed that shooting for the moon can inspire people to stay up all night and cheer for a person they’ve never heard of in a country on the other side of the world.
On May 6, 2017, on a Formula 1 track in Monza, Italy, Eliud Kipchoge ran the fastest (unofficial) marathon in history at 2 hours and 25 seconds. While the two-hour goal would remain out of reach, the project broke media records and showed the power of an ambitious, meaningful idea.