Since the launch of Sub2 marathon project in late 2014, the focus has been on the development phase - setting up the global consortium, advertising the ambitious objectives and securing the necessary sponsorship to initiate the project. As such, numerous presentations and a number of large project bid defences have occurred internationally and Sub2 remain in advanced discussions with at least three potential sponsors.
While these negotiations are on going and positive outcomes expected soon, the project focus shifts to the implementation phase which is aimed at establishing the project and achieving the 1:59:59 objective. For this phase of the project, Sub2 project centres are being set up in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Eldoret (Kenya) and the first key athletes are being recruited and signed up to run under the contractual obligations of Sub2 that includes agreeing to the WADA+ anti-doping programme (see Anti-doping deliverable on the project website).
It is anticipated that the first athletes will run under the Sub2 banner in 2016. In the meantime, a high profile publicity campaign is on going to advertise the start of the implementation phase of the project to help gain further support for this innovative and legacy generating project (e.g. a New York Times three series feature to be published in April 2016). At the same time, some progress is being made in the areas of next generation anti-doping tests, 'intelligent' training methods using 'omics' technologies, real time performance management systems, optimal training and performance nutrition, and novel training and racing footwear designs.
Further advances in the project will necessitate greater funding success and the Sub2 project consortium anticipates securing at least one major sponsor in 2016. Progress and ultimately success of this anti-doping legacy project is vital given the on going doping crisis facing athletics (and sport in general) and therefore an urgent need for an alternative to the status quo.