2013 – Wilson Kipsang

Embed from Getty Images

29-Sep-2013 – Berlin Marathon – 2:03:23 – Adidas AdiZero Adios Boost
Date of birth: 15-Mar-1982
Nationality: Kenyan
World Record Duration: 11 months, 30 days

The athlete:                
Kipsang started his marathon career in 2010, and later that year set the new course record at the Frankfurt Marathon by winning in 2:04:57. Next year at the same event, Kipsang came within four seconds of beating the world record set by Patrick Makau. 2012 would have Kipsang scoring bronze at the Olympics in London, following his win at the London Marathon that same year.

In regards to Kipsang’s performance at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, it was remarkably unremarkable. Kipsang had trained to beat the world record, and encountered no major setbacks in his training regime. The day of the race presented ideal conditions for distance running, sunny and crisp.

While his pace was enough for the new world record by the halfway point, by the 30 kilometre mark Kipsang was 30 seconds behind. Feeling strong, he rallied over the remaining quarter of the race, and managed to set the new world record in the process. The man who finished second, in only his second marathon no less, was one Eliud Kipchoge.

Kipsang would go on to win the London Marathon and New York City Marathon in 2014. In 2017, he partnered with Adidas in an attempt to set the new world record with the AdiZero Sub2. Although starting strongly, wind in the latter stages of the race would cause Kipsang to start slowing down, although he would still win with a time of 2:03:58.

As you may have read, Wilson Kipsang was banned by World Athletics for violating anti-doping rules. I will make no further comment on these matters, there are articles listed below that give further information. It should be noted that this ban does not relate to his performance at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.

The shoes:                   

In 2013, Adidas introduced the revolutionary Boost cushioning technology. It uses a thermoplastic polyurethane particles which are expanded to form small closed cells around air pockets. This meant that when compressed, Boost will spring back to its original shape.

Boost has similar properties in both cold and hot conditions, and has much greater durability compared with EVA foams used before. What it meant for racing flats is that you could have far better shock absorption for the same midsole stack height. This was the main innovation that Adidas brought to the AdiZero Adios Boost.

There was only the slightest weight penalty over the AdiZero Adios 2, the Boost-equipped successor coming in at 220 grams. Grip was still provided by Continental, with Quickstrike rubber pieces to provide yet more traction. There was also still the 3-tier Torsion System kept the shoe and it’s soft midsole cushioning stable. While the AdiZero Adios Boost has not been brought back yet, its recent release means pairs should still be floating around.

It should be noted that the marathon world record was not the only plaudit secured by the Adios Boost. In 2014, Felix Kandie managed to set the new and since unbeaten course record of 2:10:37 at the Athens Classic Marathon in an orange colourway. The significance of the course cannot be understated, it was where the first modern marathon was ever held at the 1896 Olympics. Furthermore, the course itself was based on the legend of Pheidippides, who ran from Marathon to Athens to announce Greek victory at the Battle of Marathon.

The Adidas AdiZero Sub2 is arguably the ultimate evolution of the AdiZero range, and represented the last attempt by Adidas to remain competitive on the international stage using traditional racing flats. Using an updated cushioning technology called Boost Light, with even the outsole designed to reduce weight, the AdiZero Sub2 comes in at only 156 grams. It is still being released in new colourways for those interested in trying them. You can read more about their development in my article here.