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Is it the shoes? Runner shatters women's marathon world record

Tigist Assefa of Ethiopia obliterated the fastest marathon ever run by a woman, but it's her brand new shoes that are raising eyebrows.
Is it the shoes? Runner shatters women's marathon world record
Posted at 8:28 AM, Sep 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-25 09:18:18-04

Tigist Assefa posted one of the most stunning times in the history of marathons, covering the 26.2-mile distance of the Berlin Marathon in 2:11:53 on Sunday. 

Assefa broke the women's marathon world record by 2 minutes and 11 seconds and won Sunday's race by nearly 6 minutes. She was more than a mile ahead of the competition when she crossed the finish line. Assefa was the 2022 Berlin Marathon champion, but her time this year was nearly 4 minutes better than a year prior. 

While shoe technology has advanced greatly in the last decade, Assefa's performance might usher in a new generation of elite supershoes. 

Assefa ran Sunday's race in Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1. The company claims the shoe is 40% lighter than other racing supershoes and is "packed with the latest technology."

While shoe companies will boast about innovation, what makes this shoe different is its cost and durability. The shoe is slated to go on sale to the public Tuesday and cost $500 per pair, nearly twice as much as other top supershoes on the market. 

Users have also reported they lack the durability of other running shoes. Runner's World reports that the box includes a disclaimer that the shoes are intended for one race only.

"This is the lightest racing shoe I have ever worn and the feeling of running in them is an incredible experience – like nothing I’ve felt before. They enable me to put my full focus on the race, which is exactly what you want as an athlete," Assefa said prior to Sunday's race. 

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Adidas says the shoes aren't just lighter but also have more energy return for runners. 

"The Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 is our own ‘impossible is nothing’ story," said Patrick Nava, vice president of product, running and credibility sports at Adidas. "We set ourselves the goal to create a racing shoe that is packed with the technology ambitious runners have come to love in the Adizero franchise, but at a weight we’ve never seen before at Adidas."

Amanal Petros also set the fastest marathon ever run by a German in the shoes on Sunday. He was the first German to ever run a marathon in under 2 hours, 5 minutes. 

Petros was just 2 minutes, 16 seconds behind Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, who won the men's marathon race for the fifth time, completing the race in 2:02:42.


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