In a surprise move, a nearly naked woman materialized yesterday on the corporate campus of Nike Inc., exhorting the company to abandon its plans to break the 2-hour marathon barrier—a seemingly impossible goal that's been called "running's Mount Everest."
The woman, whose identity remains a mystery, emerged from a murky pond on the company's property in Beaverton, Oregon, around 6 p.m.
"Hear me!" she screamed at a group of passers-by. "Mortals were not meant to run the marathon in less than 2 hours! It is unnatural! This seal must not be broken! Your hubris will undo you!"
"You are meddling with powers that you cannot possibly comprehend!"
The shrieking prophetess was referring to a much-publicized project announced this week by Nike, called Breaking2, in which three world-class runners will "focus on training for a sub-2 hour attempt at a date and place to be determined by Nike."
The announcement has generated considerable buzz both within the running community and in the mainstream media, including no small amount of skepticism and even criticism.
Still, the appearance of the shrieking scold took Nike employees by surprise.
"What was she doing in the pond?" asked a marketing assistant who witnessed the incident. "Does she, like, live in there and we just never knew it? Did she come from another world or dimension or something, and the pond was just some sort of portal?"
"Is she even human?"
"It was super weird," said another, a product developer. "And creepy. She didn't blink. At all."
Experts likened the woman to a modern-day Cassandra, the woman in Greek myth given the power to see the future—and cursed so that no one would believe her prophecies. Others speculated that she may be a visitor from the future, sent back in time to warn mankind of the unintended and catastrophic consequences of its arrogance.
While the woman's provenance is in question, her message was not.
"It's not too late!" she screamed at the crowd of onlookers. "End this project! For the love of all humanity! Rescind! Repent!"
"Otherwise," she concluded, laughing maniacally, "live with the knowledge that your effrontery unleashed a new era of suffering and calamity, the likes of which would horrify Satan himself!"
After her tirade, the woman was seen browsing in Nike's Employee Store.