Why Is The Sub 2 Hour Marathon Not Official

Running a marathon in under two hours has long been considered the holy grail of the sport. Breaking this barrier would represent a monumental achievement, pushing the boundaries of human performance and endurance. However, despite recent attempts by elite athletes, the sub 2-hour marathon remains unofficial. In this article, I will explore the reasons why this incredible feat is not recognized as an official world record.

The Influence of External Factors

One of the main reasons why the sub 2-hour marathon is not official is due to the significant influence of external factors. In official marathon races, athletes are subject to certain regulations to ensure fairness and standardization. These regulations include factors like course elevation, pacing assistance, and availability of aid stations.

When attempting a sub 2-hour marathon, athletes often have the advantage of a meticulously planned and controlled environment. Courses are carefully selected to have favorable conditions, such as minimal elevation changes and optimal weather. Additionally, they are supported by a team of pacemakers who help maintain a fast and consistent pace. These factors create an artificial advantage that is not present in regular marathon races, making it difficult to compare the two performances.

The Use of Technology

Another significant factor contributing to the non-official status of the sub 2-hour marathon is the use of technology. In recent attempts, athletes have benefited from cutting-edge advancements in sportswear, footwear, and even pacing technology. New high-tech shoes with carbon fiber plates and foam cushioning provide enhanced energy return, making it easier to maintain an accelerated pace.

Furthermore, technological aids such as GPS devices and data analytics play a crucial role in the sub 2-hour marathon attempts. Athletes and their support teams can meticulously analyze data from training sessions and previous races to optimize pacing strategies and minimize energy expenditure. While these technological advancements undoubtedly assist the athletes, they contribute to the perception that the sub 2-hour marathon is not achieved solely by the human effort, but rather with the aid of external factors.

The Integrity of the Sport

One of the key considerations in recognizing a world record is the integrity of the sport. The sub 2-hour marathon falls into a gray area where the line between human achievement and external assistance blurs. Recognizing a sub 2-hour marathon as an official world record could potentially create a precedent that allows for a greater involvement of technology and external aids in the pursuit of athletic excellence.

By not recognizing the sub 2-hour marathon as an official record, the athletic community aims to preserve the purity of the sport and maintain a level playing field for all athletes. It ensures that the records stand as a true representation of human physical capability, achieved through hard work and dedication.


The sub 2-hour marathon is a remarkable achievement that pushes the boundaries of human potential. However, due to the significant influence of external factors and the use of technology, it is not officially recognized as a world record. While some may argue for its inclusion as an official record, there are valid concerns about the integrity of the sport and maintaining a level playing field. Regardless of its official status, the sub 2-hour marathon will continue to inspire athletes and serve as a testament to the incredible capabilities of the human body.