Author: Michael Joyner

What Would It Take to Run a 1:50 Marathon?

For the past five years, I have participated in workshops and symposia dedicated to the optimization of human performance. What follows is a transcript of a fictional speech on the subject, which I’ve chosen to imagine as the 12th annual Victor Conte, Jr. Memorial Lecture, as presented to the 2091 instalment of The Society for Human Performance Enhancement annual meeting. The presenter is my imaginary granddaughter, Dr. Mikaela Joyner. * * * Last year, a signal event in the field of human-performance enhancement occurred when Alberto Lanza-Fuerte of Bolivia broke the 1-hour-and-50 minute marathon barrier. The achievement marked a vindication of the prediction offered in the 1960s by American runner Leonard “Buddy” Edelen, who believed that someday a 1:50 marathon might be possible. It also provides a fitting backdrop for the Conte Lecture, because many facets of the performance-enhancement landscape created by Mr. Conte contributed to this achievement. Before I delve into what made a sub-1:50 marathon possible, let me offer a few words about Mr. Conte. Victor Conte Jr. was a junior-college-educated musician-turned-nutrition-entrepreneur who …