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I seem to recall there was an improvement around 1960 when quarter-mile running tracks changed from cinder to rubber composition. The advantages are elasticity and lack of slipping. Similarly modern running shoes give not only a cushion but some bounce. The extreme is Oscar Pistorius "blade runner" who did brilliantly in sprints, but perhaps something similar is possible in the marathon.
Not only training and physiology, but technology waits to be developed.
Performance Enhancing Drugs are something of a misnomer. The human body, particularly a World Class Athlete's body, is a sublimely well tuned Bio-Machine! What drugs of ANY type do for you short term, they MORE than degrade your Finely Tuned body long term. Biotechnology has the promise of actually making a MORE superior YOU long term. This is literally a Game Changer and Sports will have to adjust to New Realities.
The most obvious target for Genetic Enhancement of Athletic Abilities is modification in Vitro or in Utero of Mitochondrial DNA. This is the Power Plant of the body. If this Power Plant is enhanced to burn more calories faster Athletic Performance is boosted permanently! This type of enhancement is probably achievable with current technology but overcoming and satisfactorily addressing the Bio-Ethics and legal problems to implement such a scheme will take decades.
Performance enhancing drugs are a lot easier way to reach the Two Hour limit for a Marathon run than tweeking training and endurance techniques. The earlier in one’s grooming and training regime performance enhancing drugs or more probably biotechnology to enhance one’s body are used, the more problematic and difficult it will be for Sports Authorities to detect and control. The future of sports may well be driven by biotechnology.
Not a big marathon aficionado, which may be why I don't understand something: how is there one world record for all the marathons? Shouldn't each one, with its particular surface geography, have its own discrete record? How can one compare times between Boston, Berlin and San Francisco as if the races were all run on the same track?
1:59:XX IS well within reach.
It was a great thrill & education meeting Roger Bannister in London, long ago. I had contracted Polio as a kid in Manila just after the Huk Rebellion, and yet later had run the mile at the excellent Westminster prep school of Simsbury, Conn. But I could only do 4:40 at best. However, I won a few races with psychological ploys, such following the leaders for three and a half laps pretending to gasp and struggle in order to slow them down with inflated overconfidence. Then, in the final turn, in very refreshing sight of the finish line, (maybe think of the film Seabiscuit!) I found could do an up on my toes sprint-kick, and pass them all with team mate Stewart for 1-2 Westy wins.
It was exhausting & absolutely hilarious. Just ask Brian "Meat Head" McDonald, Chess wizard, and my Westy homie roommate. ;- )
Roger told me he had simply broke the mile into four parts, practiced the parts, then put them together for the record. Sounded good to me. But I was shocked thinking it was some kind of super human magic. Nope, just preparation and common sense between the ears.
So best wishes ALL you young runners. With the right thinking, it should be a piece of cake. Good Luck!
Aah, so i can blame my terrible times on heat, not my penchance for KFC. Thanks guys, I feel a lot bette ;)
It would not surprise me if most or all of today's elite marathoners are already using EPO and other PEDs. They may have already gained the maximum advantage from them. But then there may be better PEDs coming down the pipeline.
Genetically engineered super women can break the barrier. But it may take at least 18 years!
What do you mean by "biotechnology" as it applies to sports? Give me a couple of examples from 2 different sports. Thanks.
Easily if we use science and technology. There are many enhance substances available (the majority of them not harmful) that can make this a reality in quite a short period of time. Regretable or fortunately they are not allowed. Which means lets way that nature, hard-work or genetic will make it possible one day or another
Comparing the world record speed of men and women in the fields of: running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, speed skating and rowing, for all distances in which there are competitions for men and women, I find that the ratio of the average speed of record holding women to that of men is 89% +/- 2% -- a remarkable constant over 90 different event types. You can see my article-letter on the subject in the December issue of Physics Today: https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.3780