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