The 45th edition of the Chicago Marathon took place on Sunday, October 8th. And while more than 40,000 runners lined up to the start line, Sifan Hassan and Kelvin Kiptum crossed the finish line in historic fashion. Their edge?: The Nike AlphaFly 3.
Hassan, 30, set a new course record in the Women’s category while running the second-fastest time in women’s marathon history with 2 hours, 13 minutes, 44 seconds. Kiptum, 23, set a new course record for the Chicago Marathon, a feat that doubles as the fastest official time over the 26.2 miles distance: 2 hours and 35 seconds.
Both Nike athletes, Hassan and Kiptum were amongst the favorites to win Sunday’s race as they were coming off first place finishes at April’s London Marathon. Kiptum, however, hadn’t been spotted training in the AlphaFly 3, preferring to run in the VaporFly NEXT% 2, the “super shoe” that got him within seconds of breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record in only his second marathon ever. Since at least 2017, Kipchoge and Nike had been trying to achieve a sub-2 hour marathon time through a project titled “breaking2.” Weather conditions, course types, and training were all studied as part of the project, but footwear was at the center of the mission.
Carbon fiber system-infused running shoes are commonplace today, but they weren’t six years ago. The Nike Zoom VaporFly Elite was in a league of its own, introducing midsoles with tall stack heights, a unidirectional carbon fiber plate, and ZoomX foam. The premier technology eventually trickled down to consumer-ready products, sending competitors into a frenzy as Kipchoge and other elite Nike athletes began to win everything, giving some credence that carbon fiber components were advantageous enough to explore. The Swoosh further pressured the industry in 2019 with the launch of the ZoomX VaporFly NEXT%. And again in 2020 with the ZoomX AlphaFly NEXT%, another “super shoe” that ultimately helped Kipchoge break the 2 hour marathon mark in an unofficial event.
Fast-forward a few years and a 23-year-old Kelvin Kiptum has gotten as close as ever to achieve the once-unfathomable in long-distance running while wearing the Nike AlphFly 3. The Kenyan runner’s training regiment ahead of the event was undoubtedly the most important element of Kiptum’s achievement, but the refined race shoe surely helped. There’s no telling if Kipchoge, Kiptum, or any other Nike-sponsored athlete will “break 2” in a sanctioned event over the course of the next marathon season, but the brand is certain to put massive energy behind the record-breaking shoe while working on the next one.
A Nike representative confirmed to Sneaker News that the AlphaFly 3 will release via nike.com in early 2024. A retail price was not disclosed, but the pair will likely sell for $275 USD like its predecessor.
Photos via Nike, World Athletics
Reposted from https://sneakernews.com