Two weeks ago I got handed a pair of very special, very rare shoes, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite. For those that don’t know, these are the shoes Nike created for its three elite athletes to wear for their attempt to run the first ever sub-2-hour marathon in the Breaking2 Project. These are not to be confused with the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%, a model based on the the Elite available for purchase. No, the shoes I was given are one of only a handful of pairs.
There was a bit of me that wanted to preserve these, box fresh and pristine but I figured it’d be a bit like those people who collect toys, taking something that’s been designed to be played with and squirrelling it away. These shoes are meant to be run in, not looked at on a shelf. And so I’ve hatched a plan. In 2018 I’m going to create my own version of Nike’s Breaking2. I’ll take these super-fast shoes and use them to (try to) break every one of my personal bests over the five distances that these shoes could feasibly be used for: 1 mile, 5km, 10km, half and full marathon.
When I put this idea out on my Instagram, the first question I got was what times would I need to run to do beat all my PBs. So here they are…
It’s been a while since I ran anywhere near this fast as my most recent escapades have tended towards the ultra rather then fast road running so this is going to be a challenge. I’m most confident about breaking my mile PB and least confident about the rest!
The target races I’ve signed up to so far…
The second question I got on Instagram was what races I would be targeting. I’ll be honest, five days ago I had no idea. I hadn’t signed up to anything for 2018 but after some digging I think I have plan.
The half marathon
Bideford Half Marathon – 11 March 2018
I grew up in Bideford. It was the place I lived until I was 18 when I left for university in East London. When we were kids our football team shared the changing rooms with the Bideford Amateur Athletics Club who organise this race. Back then running was the part of football training I hated! It’ll be great to run some familiar roads and see some old faces.
Richmond Half Marathon – 18 March 2018
I ran my half marathon PB here in 2014 so I know this can be a PB course. It’s also a couple of miles from where I live in London and takes in tracks I run week in week out. It’s my happy running place, it’s perfectly timed in the build up to the full marathon PB attempt and so it makes sense to go back here and do it again.
Hamburg Marathon – 29 April 2018
The dream would be to run London again. That was where I broke the 3-hour-marathon barrier three years ago and there’s nothing like smashing it in your home city, surrounded by your family but at the moment that’s not to be. And so I’m turning to Germany and the ‘lightly undulating’ Hamburg Marathon for my second attempt at #Breaking3. People have run fast there, that’s all I need to know. It’s also a race I’ve not run before and a city I’ve never visited and so it’s on the list.
Vitality London 10km – 28 May 2018
Another race where I set my existing PB, from memory this is mainly flat with a decent wide course and some cracking, classic London sights thrown in for good measure. I might try and find another 10km before the marathon as I’m not 100 per cent sure of my logic in having this target race after but we’ll see.
There aren’t that many organised mile races in London and so for this one I’ll probably have to either take to the track (though the Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elites weren’t made for the track, in fact they weren’t really made for the mile but still) or I’ll call in some help from friend to time me over a measured straight road. I might even try this on the Thames Path from Kew to Richmond as there’s plenty of uninterrupted path to run free.
I think there’s a good chance I’ll need more than one go at this and so I’m considering Park Run as a good timed option. But I also like the idea of the Serpentine Running Club’s Last Friday of the Month 5km. It’s in Hyde Park which I love running, it’s certificated for course accuracy and you get an official time. Plus, it’s every month and so I get more than one shot.