Kenyan marathoner Geoffrey Kamworor won the 2019 NYC Marathon on Sunday, coming in first place. This is the second New York City Marathon he was won in three years. The runner should be celebrating his win; however, it was his fashion choice that have left people skeptical. Kamworor was wearing the controversial Nike Vaporfly 4% sneaker, a shoe that boasts research that shows it helps runners go faster.
This shoe was also worn by Kenyan runner (pictured above) Eliud Kipchoge who wore the same shoes for the Vienna marathon, that allowed him to run it in under 2 hours, the fastest recorded time ever. However, his speed of 1:59:40 didn’t get counted as a world record because “it was not run under open marathon conditions and because it featured a dense rotation of professional pacesetters,” according to the New York Times. Kipchoge was also wearing these infamous shoes.
When Kamworor won the marathon this past Sunday in 2 hours, 8 minutes, and 13 seconds, there were cheers, but also whispers that the magical shoes had helped him cross the finish line. He was met by Kipchoge, who also is his team mate. Many marathoners and elite runners are switching to these shoes. In fact, Kamworor set the world record for fastest half marathon (58 minutes, 1 second) while wearing Vaporflys. Is this a coincidence?
The 4% comes from the fact the shoe’s soles have an amalgamation of foam and carbon fiber plates which structurally help push runners forward for each stride. Researchers unaffiliated with Nike did a study in February of this year and found that the shoes improved runners’ stride and energy efficiency by 4% as compared to other running sneakers. Knowing this as well as the knowledge that recent world record holders have worn these shoes, makes one wonder if the sneakers are giving them an advantage.
Kanworor was questioned regarding this at the 2018 New York City Marathon and answered, “I don’t think that the shoe is a factor. Provided that you are prepared, that you are training hard, you can run with any kind of shoe. So the shoe is not a disadvantagee to other people.”
However, that’s not what research shows.
Beauties, what do you think? Did the shoe give an unfair advantage? Sound off in the comment section!