Which Brands Dominated the Podiums of the 2023 Marathon Majors?

The emergence of running ‘super shoes’ has undoubtedly reshaped the landscape of elite marathon running. Back in March 5, 2022, there had been only two sub-2:17 marathons by women, ever… now the bar has been raised.

The 2023 World Major events’ (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York City) records have been obliterated by the likes of marathon newbies in fly new footwear that has stolen many a headline over the actual runners themselves.

The three top-performing running shoes of the year are both Nike and Adidas models when it comes to the marathon distance.

The Adios Pro 3 came out on top regarding the number of medals collected in total (9) Adios Po Evo 1 came out in third place with 4 and then the Nike Alphafly NEXT% 3 sandwiched in-between on 7 medals a piece.

However, it’s the color of those medals that hold the most clout. Both Adidas models collected two gold medals each over the six major series races for both male and female athletes, the Pro 3 added 3 silver and 4 bronze medals to their tally. The Pro Evo 1 added 2 silver medals to their 2 golds while Nike collected 4 gold medals and 3 silver.

So it comes as no real surprise that the leaders of 2023 are Nike. The AlphaFly design is just too good.

They helped secure Eliud Kipchoge’s fifth Berlin marathon win, cementing him as one of the GOATs when it comes to the 26.2 miles (okay he didn’t hit his sub-2-hour goal but cmon?!)

It’s not all about the gold either, there are records to be considered… Sifan Hassan and Kelvin Kiptum both made their mark in London and Chicago.

Hassan’s comeback victory was epic on English soil, she managed to catch up with the pack after falling behind, seemingly struggling with injury, only to seal a comfortable win. And Kiptum’s time was just a mere 16 seconds off the legendary Kipchoge’s world record… both in their London debuts…

Then both athletes took to Chicago – and won their respective races in the Windy City. Hassan’s time of 2:13:44 made her the second fastest female marathoner of all time, while her male counterpart broke the world record with a time of 2:00:23 in the same shoe model – shaving 34 seconds off Kipchoge’s record.

He somehow managed a negative split for the second half-marathon that included a 13:51 5K between kilometres 30 and 35, the Kenyan runner has set a new standard for what is possible in marathon running at only 23 years old.

What kind of wizardry happens at the Nike factory?!

Wow.

In case you fancied following in their footsteps… Nike announced that the AlphaFly NEXT% 3 will be available for the general public in January 2024.

Then there’s the Adidas Pro Evo 1 – arguably the better-looking super-shoe with a price tag to match! $500 a pair… for one race (yes you read that correctly). Adidas stripped the shoe for the sheer performance essentials (ultra light-weight at 138 grams) which helped Tigst Assefa claim the gold medal in Berlin, shattering the Marathon world record by more than 2 minutes with a time of 2:11:53!

Tamirat Tola also claimed victory but over in New York (sporting the sensational white and pink range) in a time of 2:04:58, almost an entire minute ahead of Albert Korir in second place who wore the Pro 3 model of Adidas…

Evans Chebet took the gold medal in Boston wearing the Asios Pro 3 model super-shoe, as did Rosemary Wanjiru in Tokyo in just her second attempt at the Marathon distance. She came in at 2:16:28, one of the fastest times for female runners.

But let’s not forget the likes of On who won two majors with the speedy Helen Obiri, bringing home the bacon in Boston and New York City (the first woman in history to do so in the same calendar year) in On Cloud Tri1 super shoe. These are aimed at triathletes (the clue’s in the name) but Obiri opted for them over the Cloudboom Echo 3.0 – the brand’s runner super-shoe.

It’s a race within a race for running super-shoe manufacturers now that newcomers to the sport are mixing up the status quo and world rankings in their debut attempts. And Nike lead the way after a successful 2023, but with 2024 being an Olympic year, I’m excited to see what shoes take gold in Paris.

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