Vodafone aims to break two-hour marathon barrier


The current marathon world record was set in September 2014 by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto

Vodafone has joined forces with elite runner Kenenisa Bekele in a world record breaking attempt to beat the two-hour marathon barrier.

The operator and the Ethiopian long distance athlete are part of a project called SUB2 whose main purpose is to demonstrate how science and technology can improve athletic performance. Bekele and his support team have been using an application designed by the network which measures distance and speed. Vodafone claims it is up to 10 times more accurate than alternatives currently on the market. It will soon be able to measure heart rate alongside skin and core temperature once future updates have been completed.

The application connects to a cloud-based portal, allowing Bekele and his team to study data on a desktop, tablet or smartphone in real time. It has been designed to operate on smart watches independent of any handset.

Bekele is currently the world record holder for 5,000 (12 minutes and 37.35 seconds) and 10,000 (26 minutes and 17.53 seconds) metre distances. He currently holds the second fastest recorded time for a marathon at two hours and 03.03 minutes. The current world marathon record of two hours and 2.57 minutes was set in September 2014 by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto.

Vodafone Group head of network strategy and architecture Santiago Tenorio said: “As the SUB2 project’s technology partner, Vodafone is empowering elite athletes to make some of the marginal gains needed to break the two hour marathon barrier. This project showcases Vodafone’s ability to provide connectivity and innovative services for standalone wearable devices.”