WASHINGTON & BEAVERTON, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On May 6, after a year of scientifically advanced training, three of the world’s most elite distance runners set out to do the incredible, fueled by Nike — to break the two-hour marathon barrier. More than 19 million spectators worldwide watched as the runners, driven by their unrelenting determination and backed by cutting-edge science and product innovation, circled the Monza circuit in Italy. In the climactic finish, 32-year-old Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge came within only 25 seconds of breaking the elusive two-hour mark.
National Geographic and NIKE Inc. announced today the global documentary Breaking2 (working title), chronicling this legendary journey that redefined the limits of human potential. National Geographic Studios, in association with Dirty Robber, an Academy Award-nominated production and entertainment company, will produce the film. Breaking2 will have its broadcast premiere this September on National Geographic in the U.S. and Europe and be made available globally on digital platforms.
“With Nike as the perfect partner in telling this remarkable story, Breaking2 is about pushing limits and going further. We hope that viewers will connect with the runners on a personal level,” said Brendan Ripp, EVP of sales and partnerships, National Geographic. “They are super-athletes, but we witness them in incredibly personal moments of their daily lives, hopes and dreams, as well as their training.”
“This project has been over two years in the making and with National Geographic’s unparalleled global reach, we hope to bring this story of passion and courage to create conversation and inspire people to think differently about how they approach their daily lives,” said Nikki Neuburger, VP of brand marketing, global running, NIKE Inc. “We’re excited to share the story of these three amazing runners, and the team of scientists and product developers, on their journey to challenge the limits of human potential.”
Featuring breathtaking cinematography, the film chronicles the journey of three world-class runners and their teams as they try to defy the unthinkable. Breaking2 is about the intersection of technology and the human spirit. From testing in wind tunnels and running labs in the United States, to balancing training with their day-to-day lives in eastern Africa, to the final heart-pounding race in Italy, we followed these pioneers on their global trek to break the two-hour barrier.
“In certain parts of the world distance runners are as celebrated as NBA or NFL athletes,” explained Director Martin Desmond Roe. “This film offers a never-before-seen look at these remarkable heroes as they train tirelessly to shatter one of the biggest barriers in the world of sports and human endurance.”
Meet the runners:
Eliud Kipchoge: This 32-year-old Kenyan carries himself with unerring confidence and is always relaxed, at ease, and in complete control. Whether he’ll break the record someday isn’t a question to him. It’s a fact.
Lelisa Desisa: A cool, 27-year-old Ethiopian, Desisa skyrocketed onto the scene in 2010 with incredibly fast times, and has won the Boston Marathon twice. Although recently his times have faltered, the Nike scientists see great potential in this young athlete and think Desisa has the potential to run a sub-two marathon in the future.
Zersenay Tadese: From Eritrea, 35-year-old Tadese holds the world record for the fastest half-marathon ever run. But his full marathon time has historically been so poor that at first glance it’s shocking he’s even in the lineup. It’s the scientists who believe his physiology suggests he may ultimately stand the best chance of all.
The determined athletes met with a team of curious sports scientists for more than a year of testing, training analysis, product innovation design and development and customized race day planning. Dr. Brad Wilkins, director of the Nike Explore team in the Nike Sport Research Lab, led the team of scientists whose work drove this attempt. Wilkins and his team looked for any and all ways to optimize the runners’ performance, from conducting endurance tests to crunching lab data and identifying the optimal race strategy. Also key to the science behind the endeavor is Dr. Brett Kirby. As an expert on human bioenergetics, Kirby conducts pioneering research that unlocks better performance for every athlete. His formula for measuring and enhancing a runner’s velocity, running economy, hydration ability and oxygen consumption is the basis for the science behind this world-changing attempt.
It culminates in just missing the two-hour barrier, but by the slimmest of margins. As told through these exceptional athletes, this is the story of how “not making it” is one of the most heroic and amazing athletic feats of all time.
For more information, visit www.natgeotvpressroom.com or follow us on Twitter using @NGC_PR.
Breaking2, in partnership with Nike, will be produced by National Geographic Studios in association with Dirty Robber. For Dirty Robber, the film is directed by Martin Desmond Roe, Chris Uettwiller and Jason Puris are executive producers and Kathlyn Horan is producer. For Nike, Mark McCambridge is executive producer. For National Geographic Channel, Betsy Forhan is executive producer; Kevin T. Mohs is vice president, production; and Tim Pastore is president, original programming and production.
About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic's media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children's media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 128 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers ... and reaching over 730 million people around the world in 171 countries and 45 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27 percent of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
About NIKE Inc.
NIKE Inc., based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned NIKE Inc. subsidiary brands include Converse, which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories; and Hurley, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, NIKE Inc.’s earnings releases and other financial information are available at http://investors.NIKE.com, and individuals can follow @NIKE.
About Dirty Robber
Dirty Robber is an Academy Award-nominated production and entertainment company recognized for its fearless storytelling and award-winning work in film, branded content and advertising. The company was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013 for its short film “Buzkashi Boys” and has received numerous other honors from The One Show, The Webbys, Cannes Lions and AICP, for their work in partnership with Nike, Comcast, Showtime and others. Dirty Robber has offices in Los Angeles and New York City and shares its Los Angeles office with its sister company, Coyote Post, a full-service post-production studio staffed with a world-class collective of editors, VFX artists and colorists. For more information, visit www.dirtyrobber.com.