Eleven seconds faster than the old record may not seem like a lot for a race that is over 13 miles, but consider the idea that the record was 59:17 in 1998. That means on average the record has improved less than 5 seconds a year over the last 12 years.
As the world record progression will continue to become more gradual, this begs the question of how fast can man go? Will man ever break 57 minutes? Will he even break 58 minutes?
Similarly, the men’s marathon world record is getting to the point where just a small improvement seems nearly impossible. Though with a new half marathon record getting close to 58 minutes it makes you wonder will man one day be able to go under two hours? Will he go under 2:02 or 2:03 anytime soon?
Then there are fast twitch muscles. We’ve recently seen Usain Bolt of Jamaica reshape our thinking on how fast a human can run as he broke world records in the 100m and 200m dash.
So where will we be in 20 years? 100 years? The statement below from the 2008 Time article, How Fast Can Humans Go, seems to sum it up:
“no one can really know exactly how fast a human may be able to run,” says Dennis Bramble, professor of biology at the University of Utah. Certainly, runners have been getting faster, as far as we know, but as Peter Weyand, an expert in biomechanics at Southern Methodist University, points out, our history of recorded time in sprints is relatively brief. “We have no way of knowing if humans might not have been even faster centuries or millennia ago,” he says.