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Strava to give away free New Balance sneakers, but there's a 26.2-mile catch

Complete a marathon and run the second half faster than the first. That shouldn't be too hard.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Planning to run a marathon between October 9 and December 6? You have a chance to win a free pair of New Balance sneakers.

Strava, a popular tracking app and social network used by runners and cyclists, is partnering with New Balance to offer free sneakers to anyone who finishes a marathon, but there's a catch. Not only do you have to complete the grueling 26.2-mile race, but you have to run the second half faster than the first, a practice known as negative splitting.

Sound easy? It may be a lot harder than you think. Only 4.7 percent of Strava users were able to run a negative split in a major marathon in 2015.

To enter the Strava Back Half Challenge, runners must complete a USATF-certified marathon and upload the race to Strava. You will then be required to fill out a submission form (which will include providing a link to the official marathon race results) on the Strava website to claim a promo code for your free pair of sneakers.

The partnership with New Balance is an interesting one. The Boston-based shoemaker is one of the few athletic apparel companies that doesn't own a fitness app. Under Armour purchased MapMyFitness for $150 million in November of 2013, followed by acquisitions of Endomondo and MyFitnessPal for $85 million and $475 million, respectively. Adidas joined the digital race when it bought Runtastic for $240 million last August, while Asics scooped up Runkeeper this past February.