“I don’t know where the limits are but I would like to go there.”
I interrupt this week’s regularly-scheduled blog with an announcement: A human being is capable of running a sub-2 hour marathon.
There’s little to zero chance you heard it first here. News of Eliud Kipchoge breaking the 2-hour marathon barrier has been THE buzz since it happened on Saturday, October 12 in Vienna. I woke up to a text from my husband (he hits the gym at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings while I sleep in until the baby is up) that read, “A guy just did the first sub 2 marathon today.”
Eliud Kipchoge – Not A Guy, The GOAT
A guy. Oh, gotta love that part from my athlete, yet non-runner husband.
Eliud Kipchoge isn’t just a guy. He’s a world record-holding runner who finishes marathons full of smiles and full of joy. He’s a guy who cares about others. He’s an accomplished and amazing distance runner. He really is the greatest of all time.
After failing at his first attempt to go sub-2, Eliud and his team made the feat a reality. He ran 26.2 miles at an average pace of 4:33. A 4:33 min/mile…for 26.2 miles. Let that sink in for a moment.
Naturally, as with anything in our modern world, the critics were out in full-force, from before Eliud began his race and after he achieved the goal. Because this run was controlled, with a team of pacers and a closed course (it wasn’t during a public marathon), apparently the feat wasn’t so impressive to everyone.
It was a huge deal, something everyone should care about, and for so many reasons other than the obvious.
Before I go on, here’s a fun fact: Eliud holds the marathon record of 2:01:39. So, haters, the dude’s still fucking fast in a non-controlled, “official” racing environment.
Achieving for All
What I applaud from Eliud is, this wasn’t about him achieving a goal. It wasn’t about a selfish glory boost. It was about showing what the human mind and human body are capable of, that there are no limits to what can be achieved. The point was to prove something great can be done.
Eliud himself said that he fully expects more people all over the world to run sub-2 hour marathons now. And I expect he’s the kind of guy who’d be there to pace or cheer them to it.
This feat and Eliud is a reminder that no one achieves anything alone. Especially in the running world, an individual sport, runners often rely on one another to achieve goals. Meb Keflezighi credited fellow runners for their work pacing and helping him to his Boston Marathon win in 2014. Des Linden famously offered to help Shalane Flanagen win Boston in 2018, then went on to get the W herself.
Lessons for All
Even if you’re not a runner, even if you’re not an athlete, even if you’re not someone who gets inspired by feats of human capability – you should care about this.
Eliud’s performance reminds us that a failed attempt at something doesn’t mean it’s not worth learning from and trying again. It reminds us that support and cheerleaders are a huge piece of achieving a goal. It proves that hard work and determination are admirable qualities, and they pay off. I think we can all take away a lot from what Eliud – and his team and his supporters – accomplished.
I’m also pretty impressed by the mental load Eliud carried throughout this process. All eyes were on him. Everyone wanted him to succeed. Part of me thinks everyone expected him to succeed. That’s pretty heavy. Yet, as I’ve read the story and watched the videos, he seemed calm and focused. I think we can all learn a lesson in staying focused amidst intense pressure.
Most of all, it’s pretty incredible to know that a human being is capable of something previously unattainable. Eliud’s quote of, “No human is limited,” brings chills. Imagine what you might be capable of that, today, you think isn’t possible. Maybe it’s something you’re willing to work hard for, fail, work hard again, then try again.
What’s your reaction to Eliud Kipchoge running a sub-2 hour marathon? The comments are all yours so please share.