Jim Walmsley’s attempt to get below 6:09:14 has given rise to immense frustration.
Sponsored races are popular. The principle is quite simple: sell dreams by setting out to conquer a record, enlist the services of a leading athlete so that the challenge has a chance to succeed and the project is credible, highlight your brand so that the link between performance and it appears as natural as possible. Nike and Eliud Kipchoge’s attempt to cross the 2-hour mark in the marathon, Salomon and that of Kilian Jornet to cover the greatest distance in 24 hours and, since this weekend, a triptych involving Hoka, Jim Walmsley and a 100 kilometers.
If the challenge holds a primordial place in this kind of event, its outcome is more secondary. The Kenyan had to do it twice before “break the two”, the Catalan was forced to give up after a little over 10 hours of racing, and the American … let’s say he will ruminate for a long time for not having had the seconds on his side.
While he had in his field of vision the mark of 6:9:14 achieved in 2018 by the Japanese Nao Kazami, Jim Walmsley was still two minutes ahead of the lap times in the 85 kilometers. Even if the elements should have been much less of a problem than usual for the world mountain racing champion, this attempt being made on the road, the 30-something had to end his journey with a shoulder injury, after hitting a pole …
With Hoka’s “Carbon X” news on his feet – hence the media coverage of the event – Walmsley inexorably slipped on the wrong side of the record. Until crossing the line in 6:9:26, twelve tiny seconds after the absolute best time. History that laymen are better aware of the feat, it still represents an average pace of 16.24 km / h. And in case the American hadn’t had his fix, he hinted he could get his revenge soon.