University of Brighton Alumni Association

Breaking the two-hour marathon challenge

Can a human run the marathon in less than two hours? Students and staff at the School of Sports and Service Management are working on an exciting research collaboration to achieve this goal.


What is Sub2hrs?
Sub2hours is a research initiative that was set-up in conjunction with the University of Brighton in December 2015 which is made up from multidisciplinary scientists, PhD students, elite-level athletes, and strategic industry partners which all share a common goal which is to achieve the sub 2-hour marathon run within five years.


Who is involved with Sub2hrs?
Yannis Pitsiladis, Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Brighton, leads the project that includes many talented scientists working with a variety of other specialists in the field. They are hoping that a combination of nutrition, biomechanics, race preparation, product development and many others will help them in achieving what many have regarded as impossible by 2019.

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As well as the talented multidisciplinary team behind the scenes; on the road Sub2hrs has put together a talented crop of runners which include the likes of New Zealand brothers Zane and Jake Robertson, the youngest ever winner of the New York marathon Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and the 5k and 10k World Record holder Kenenisa Bekele.

What is Sub2hrs looking to achieve?
The Sub2hrs has several aims in which it wants to pursue as well as its five-year goal:

  • In today’s sceptical climate of elite athletics, Sub2hrs prides itself on running clean, and one of the initiatives it has embarked on is the development of a new anti-doping test which uses genetic markers to identify users of Erythropoietin (EPO).
  • Sub2 is also working with strategic industrial partners to develop the latest scientific innovations to improve performance, such as its collaboration with Maurten, a Swedish company, developing the latest in carbohydrate supplementation.
  • The use of real-time technology is something that Sub2hrs is developing and will release for public viewing very soon: this looks at core temperature, heart rate, estimation of Vo2 and the use of drones and other technology on race day.

The project is set to be one of the biggest record-breaking achievements since the four-minute mile. Find out more at Sub2Hr Marathon, on twitter at @Sub2hrs and more information about crowdfunding for the project. If you would like to be part of this initiative find out more here.


Sarah Grant • December 12, 2016

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