What will it take to run a marathon in less than two hours? The world's fastest times for the marathon have been dropping since the distance of 26.2 miles was made official nearly one hundred years ago. But after a noticeable decline that occurred for a half century, the times, while still edging lower, have stalled several minutes north of two hours for the past decade. For the first time, 1:59 examines what it will take for an elite distance runner to go sub--two hours. It will require more than raw talent, optimal body size, and great athletic genes. In order to become marathon's Roger Bannister and smash this elusive record, this runner must follow a healthy diet and an individualized training regimen that takes advantage of specific environmental factors ("live high, train low"). Because precious seconds count over each mile run, other critical considerations include improved running form and economy, sharpened mental focus, and wearing the right type of racing flats (or even going barefoot). The athlete who finally breaks distance running's most tantalizing barrier will become a worldwide celebrity overnight. Will the runner be a Kenyan, an Ethiopian, an American, or a marathoner from another country? And how soon will it happen? By providing a unique window into the highly competitive world of elite marathon running, this book also allows running enthusiasts to have a thorough understanding of the true potential of endurance athletes. And in turn, they can apply the same training and racing principles discussed in 1:59 to their own running, whether it's a 10K, half marathon, marathon, or ultramarathon.