The IAAF would consider declaring the Kipchoge AlphaFly illegal
It has been one of the issues that has generated the most controversy in the last third of 2019. After so many people saw Eliud Kipchoge go down for the first time the two-hour marathon barrier at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, many lights focused on shoes with the Nike sign that he wore and that nobody had ever seen before. They named them Nike AlphaFly, a prototype on which no more information has been given than the human eye was able to capture throughout that day, but which seems like an advanced version of the Nike VaporFly that most elite athletes wear today and increasingly popular after having 'humanized' its cost in the market.
Well, as Óscar Fernández commented (@gabyandersen), one of the authorized voices of athletics and very active in the networks in terms of international athletic information, several media around the world are echoing that the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) would be considering adopting measures and banning the prototype that the Kenyan wore in the Austrian capital.
Where to set the limits?
If this is the case and its use is limited, obviously athletes could use them to train and in popular races outside the federated calendar, as is the case of Behobia, as Fernández comments. IAAF Rule 143.2 specifies that "It cannot be designed to give athletes unfair help or an advantage". An article published by the ‘New York Times’ a couple of months ago, shortly after the African met the challenge in Vienna, made an in-depth analysis of the situation and assessed where the limits could be set. In an article in the ‘British Journal of Sport Medicine’, biomechanical Geoffrey Burns, who treasures 2:24 in a marathon, said the key was to narrow the limit of the midsole thickness to match conditions between athletes. I bet on an ‘upper’ that does not exceed 31 millimeters thick.
Several media have echoed in recent days that precisely the IAAF would be working on a measure to limit that thickness of the midsole, but it is unknown where that limit will be placed and how the controls will be carried out relevant career by career and the work of the judges in that regard. It won't be easy, of course.
According to several foreign media reports, the Nike that made the sub 2-hour marathon possible could be declared illegal in the coming months. According to those sources, World Athletics is ready to introduce a rule that limits the thickness of the midsole of the shoes.
- Oscar Fdez. (@Gabyandersengz) December 30, 2019