This video was shot just before the 14 mile point at the London Marathon in 2018.
At this point the runners in the leading group were running faster than world record pace. The video illustrates nicely the varied running form of the best male distance runners in the world.
The video shows, in order:
1st runner is pace.
2nd runner (and winner) Eliud Kipchoge in orange shorts.
3rd runner (2nd place in race) Tola Shura Kitata, black shorts, green flash.
4th runner (5th in race) Bedan Karoki, blue shorts, orange top.
5th runner (8th in race) Daniel Wanjiru , orange top, black shoes.
6th runner (6th in race) Kenenisa Bekele in white top, orange shorts.
7th runner (4th in race) Abel Kirui, second group, white top, orange shorts.
8th runner (3rd in race) Mo Farah in second group, yellow arm-warmers.
Not surprisingly, given the heat, the group thinned out and none of the runners continued at this extraordinary pace.
Should runners try and emulate or copy elite runners’ form?
It depends. The running form shown in the video above, is the form of the very best distance runners in the world. At the point the video was shot, the runners had just passed halfway in 61 minutes; inside world record pace. They are running around 4.40 per mile; the form is a product of the speed, not the other way around. We can’t reproduce this form whilst running 8 min miles or even 6 min miles.
And what form do we copy? Compare the third runner in the video, Kitata, with the two runners in front. Look at the way his feet land, striking heel first. Heel striking is touted by many as being bad running form, Kitata finished second in 2.04.49 — heel striking is not bad running form.
Also look at the two runners in front of Kenenisa Bekela: Bedan Karoki and Daniel Wanjiru. In particular the angle of their bodies to the ground compared to Bekela’s. Finally, check out Bekela’s heel lift compared to Wanjiu’s.
There are fundamental differences in running form displayed by these elite runners. Watch and marvel, but don’t get too caught up trying to copy them.