With fall marathon season kicking off in October, an upstart fitness app has issued a challenge to runners: Run fast and you could win a free pair of sneakers.
In partnering with New Balance, fitness app Strava has announced the “Back-Half Challenge.” The concept is simple — runners will need to complete a negative split, which means finishing the second half of a race with a better time than the first.
Per Strava’s data, less than 5 percent of runners in the 2015 Boston Marathon and 2015 New York Marathon were able to complete the daunting task. On the flip side, completing a negative split appears to be a major key to success for runners. The current men’s and women’s marathon world-record holders both ran negative splits, as did all six marathon medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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While it may sound simple enough on paper, runners who have completed the negative split say that it requires intense training and careful strategizing. “It takes mental willpower to run a controlled, smart first half and mental toughness to pick up the pace in the latter half,” said 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials marathon qualifier Michelle Meyer in a statement.
If you think you have what it takes, you’ll need to sign up for a USATF-certified marathon between Oct. 9 and Dec. 4 and use the Strava app to upload your activity. Eligible winners will receive a free pair of New Balance sneakers. More information and rules can be viewed on Strava’s blog.