Sunday, December 25, 2016

V 6 N. 90 (Satire) Project Shoeshot: A Business Plan to Produce a Sub-Two Hour Marathon


Project Shoeshot: A Business Plan to Produce a Sub-Two Hour Marathon By a Joint Venture of Nike Inc. and Adidas AG

Presented by Paul O’Shea

Recently, Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Adidas AG (Deutsche Borse: ADS) revealed separate programs designed to produce a runner who completes a marathon in less than two hours. Nike, with its GPS-spread resources calls its effort “Moonshot.”  Adidas has not given the test a nickname, though it is reported to be considering “The Dassler Brothers Redux” (“Redux”).  

Each of these initiatives would require substantial capitalization and staffing commitments while at the same time oblige invited runners to forego the lucrative certified major marathons.  This Project envisions another way to achieve the sub-two goal.

The following is a Business Plan offered as a way to obtain maximum acclaim for these two companies while conserving resources, both measured by financial and human capital.  In addition it will generate widespread public recognition and subsequent rewards that will accrue to the individual who completes the assignment.  The working title for this joint venture is Project Shoeshot.

Business Concept
No male or female runner has yet run 26 miles, three hundred eighty five yards (“the distance”) in less than two hours.  Project Shoeshot is a meticulously planned, fully financed program designed to consume fewer than seven thousand two hundred seconds.  Though it would break a long sought running barrier, our attorneys stipulate that this performance would qualify as a World Best, not a World Record.

Current Business Position
Nike and Adidas have been merciless competitors for decades in the world of athletics.  Though Nike, the Beaverton, Oregon based company, currently has about 60 per cent of the running shoe market, the last four runners to break the world marathon record have worn Adidas footwear.  Current record holder Dennis Kimetto ran 2:02.57 in 2014.

Nike elite runners have long graced multitudes of marathon podia.  But its senior executives, tired of having bestowed the running world with shoe contracts and equipment overstock, have authorized an emendation to its slogan.  The new tagline: Just Do It, Already.

In an effort to advance the boundaries of human achievement, recent discussions between Shoe Dog executives and descendants of the Dassler brothers have brought the athletic behemoths together. In an abundance of corporate altruism, each has voluntarily put aside market share and share price in an effort to crack the greatest running barrier since the four-minute mile (see under Bannister, Roger).

Shoeshot Plan and Participants
Three elite level runners will be selected to take on the challenge.  Additionally, four nonpareil distance runners (of the stripe of a Bekele, Farah, Rupp, etc.) will be enlisted to serve as pacemakers for each of four ten-thousand-meter segments.  To continue the pursuit a middle distance runner (Centrowitz, or runner of comparable standing) will run the next two kilometers at sub-world record pace. Celebrity commitments permitting, Usain Bolt will accompany the leader(s) to the finish.

Each company would of course want the sub-two athlete to wear its shoes, without question.  Our program anticipates this dilemma and provides a solution: Each contestant will wear a different company’s shoe on each foot. A coin toss hosted by a short-fingered vulgarian will determine starting line positions.   

Anticipated Outcome
A final time of one hour, fifty-nine minutes, fifty nine seconds or less is anticipated. (Full disclosure: This achievement will not allow it to receive official world record recognition due to IAAF guidelines requiring medical checks, downhill course prohibitions, the Shoeshot plan to insert ten thousand meter pacemakers at twenty, thirty and forty kilometers, in addition to one who will take the pace from the start.) Shortsighted rules continue to hamper the growth of athletics, the international term for track and field.

Marketing Opportunities
The first individual to run one mile in less than four minutes, Roger Bannister, achieved lifetime immortality. Even his compatriots, Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher will forever be known as having vital roles in the barrier breakage.

When the announcement was made in 1954 by one Norris McWhirter that the race was won ”in a time of three minutes… those words will live forever in the memories of all who heard them at the Ifley Road track in Cambridge, England.  

Students of Shakespeare will recall Henry V’s speech on St. Crispin’s Day, when the English, vastly outnumbered before the Battle of Agincourt, heard the King say: “From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered—We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

Final Preparations
Concluding details are in work.  A team of internationally respected surveyors is seeking a venue that will have a significant down hill aspect. A closed course far from automobile and other pollutants is sought; climate change is providing an increasing number of sites.  In addition the medical community has offered its services pro bono in the run up to the sub-two attempt. Video cameras will be deployed at undesignated locations.  All runners must initiate contact with timing mats.

Shoeshot Awards
A first place medal will be awarded to the winner of the competition.  Participant ribbons to second and third place finishers.  Additional compensation based on performance.

Safe Harbor Statement: The information contained in this communication is confidential.  It is intended solely for use by the recipient and others authorized to receive it. Under no circumstances does this communication imply an offering of securities. The underwriter J.P. Morgan Goldman Sachs has not registered these securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission in anticipation that the Securities and Exchange Commission will soon cease to exist as a federal regulator.

Paul O’Shea is a lifelong participant in the track and field and running world as athlete, coach and journalist.  After a career in corporate communications he coached a high school girls’ cross country team and was a long-time contributor to Cross Country Journal and Athletics, the Canadian publication. He now writes for Once Upon a Time in the Vest from his home in northern Virginia, and can be reached at  His shoe of choice was the widely unknown Finnish Karhu, which served him well for eighteen miles of the 1978 New York City Marathon.


Wilfred Schnier said...

What a great idea, especially the collaboration of Nike and Adidas. However, making it a downhill marathon, clearly circumventing the rules of a certified course trivializes the event and removes it from being the 2017 counterpart to the 1954 race of Roger Bannister. Furthermore, what is the elimination of the SEC as a federal regulator all about? Is all of this just one more corporate gimmick worthy of P.T. Barnum?

George Brose said...

Bill the whole article is a satire.

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