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What's the fastest time for a man to run a marathon? Even if you're a close study of the grueling, 26-mile endurance race, that's probably like an impossible question to answer. Times continue to drop-the current record, set in 2018 by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, is 2:01:39 but just how low can they go?
A recent study the answer: 1: 58.05-one hour, 58 minutes , and five seconds. That's little more than three minutes faster than the current record, and it cracks the two-hour barrier long targeted by the world's elite marathoners.
But it may be a while before we see that absolute peak performance; According to the study, the odds of a two-hour running marathon in 2024 are just 5 percent. Sure, by 2032 they rise to 10 percent, and by 2054 they are at a relative impressive 25 percent. We're talking about spending decades to enjoy the fastest marathon time.
That's the cold truth of statistics, published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise the flagship journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. To reach that sobering conclusion, Simon Angus an associate professor of economics at Monash Business School and an ultramarathoner himself, applied to an economic model to data on the International Association of Athletics Federations record-breaking marathon performances going back to 1950.
That analysis establishes the theoretical limit on men's marathon records, as well as predicting how likely we are to see a sub-two-hour men's marathon. The results suggest elite marathoners are already competing near the very limits of human endurance. Since 1950, the first year included in the data, men's times have come down by 19 minutes, while the women's world record has fallen by one hour and 22 minutes.