Much has been said about pushing our bodies to the limit when running marathons, especially in recent years because of the boom in running. The latest chapter in this debate took place last weekend at the motor racing circuit of Monza, Italy, where a well-known clothing brand organized a marathon in which three of the most outstanding athletes in marathon running -Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa and Zersenay Tadese – along with many other well-known runners who were the pacemakers, had the objective to run the 42 195 meters of the marathon in under two hours.
Before the athletes appeared on the track, we saw the strategy of «marketing» and «product placement». The name of the brand was strategically placed throughout the event as well as many of the brand´s products. The media was out in force. This brand and its main competitor have been involved at an international level in different projects to get their athletes to be the first to break the mythical record of 2h00 ‘. In addition, the management of the event and the work of the advertising team of the brand was exceptional.
Practically everyone was sure that breaking this two hour barrier would be impossible – the current world record, which is said to be the fastest marathon in history is 2:02 ’57 ‘by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto, set in 2014. However, people were waiting with bated breath to see to what extent these athletes, with all the conditions in their favour, could be brought closer to the two-hour limit.
And the show did not disappoint. An incredible Eliud Kipchoge went down in history, proving that it was indeed possible. With a few steps before the 40th km mark, it was obvious that the formidable African athlete would finish in 2h00’25 «,more than two and a half minutes faster than Kimetto’s time.
Over and above the show the brand put on and how the event was managed, in my opinion certain conclusions can be reached regarding Breaking2. Athletics, like practically any sport which is given adequate media coverage – can be profitable and inspiring, with the right marketing strategy. We saw people getting up early to watch a marathon on a Saturday morning, media coverage throughout the day, semi-professional and elite athletes – the «target»audienece of the brand – were commenting and analyzing the event and its result and lots of exposure for the athletes as well as the brand on social networks – all of this was achieved in Breaking2.