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Is Nike Abusing Its Financial Research Muscle?

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Three of the world’s top distance runners will skip major marathons this spring so they can focus instead on a Nike project to produce the world’s first sub-2 hour marathon, a high-stakes marketing ploy by the sneaker giant. PHOTO: ANDRES KUDACKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Source: Nike Recruits Top Runners to Break 2-Hour Marathon Barrier – WSJ

Part of the cool aspect of running a website dedicated to bringing a more in-depth analysis of the sneaker market is running across stories like this. Sara Germano reports that Nike is attempting to create machine-like runners who can hit the sub 2 hour mark in a marathon. Full disclosure here, I have never run a marathon. I have run a sub 5 minute mile before, which was insane, but I had a 6-6 head coach in college who yelled and scared the hell out of us at 6 o’clock in the morning at Balboa Stadium behind San Diego City College.

In this article Germano takes the discussion into the continued problem with Nike’s 18% stock drop and into a discussion on shoes that fell apart on runners during a marathon. It’s a solid read that allows for some interesting analysis if you take the time to ask yourself one question: Why is Nike attempting this?

I have another question if the runners they are choosing to do this are forgoing 6 figure events, how much is Nike paying them and is this a case of a rich scientist playing with specimens in a lab? If Kanye said LeBron is a billion dollar slave, I wonder what he would have to say about this.

What do you think?