Kenya: Eliud Kipchoge - Nike Shoes Not Giving Runners Unfair Advantage

Eliud Kipchoge (in white singlet) runs flanked by pacesetters during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019.
15 January 2020

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has laughed off claims that Nike's talk-of-town racing shoe gives distance runners an added advantage.

Media reports on Wednesday speculated that the now famous Nike Zoom Vaporfly racing shoe could be banned for giving runners "undue advantage."

Kipchoge wore the shoe in Vienna last October when he became the first man to run the marathon in under two hours.

The Olympic champion clocked one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds to beat the iconic two-hour barrier at a race against the clock organised by British petrochemicals firm Ineos.

A day later, his compatriot Brigid Kosgei shattered Briton Paula Radcliffe's 16-year-old women's world record, running 2:14:04 at the Chicago Marathon.

"The contentious issue is the foam and carbon-fibre composition of the sole, which acts like a spring to help runners get the most forward push from each stride," British newspaper, 'The Daily Mail', reported on Wednesday.

"A technical body looking into the Nike shoes are set to deliver their findings at the end of this month," the newspaper added.


But speaking at his Global Sports Communication/NN Running team training camp in Kaptagat, Kipchoge said records are broken by individuals, not footwear.

"It's the person who is running, and not the shoes," said Kipchoge, who also holds the world marathon record at 2:01:39.

"It is (Lewis) Hamilton who does the driving and not Pirelli tyres," he added, drawing parallels with Formula One racing.

But the distance running legend said it was important to have checks and balances even as running technology evolves.

"Controls have to be there because fairness is good," Kipchoge said.

"But technology is growing and you can't deny that!"

Kipchoge also used the Nike Zooms when breaking the world record in Berlin in 2018.

He is currently preparing for a defence of his London Marathon title in April before also attempting to defend his Olympic title in Sapporo in August.


Speaking on the eve of last year's World Championships in Doha, World Athletics President Seb Coe said while innovation in athletics offered interesting prospects, controls in the development of footwear was essential.

A team from Nike's global headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, is expected in Kaptagat next week.

However, it's still unclear whether or not the visit is to launch the development of a new running shoe for Eliud to use at the London Marathon and at the Olympics.

Kipchoge is usually involved in the development of his own running and training footwear in consultation with Nike's research and development division at Beaverton.

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