Greatest of All Time

It’s been such a massive weekend in running-world, one of those weekends where all the races seem to happen all at once. I was off running in Oslo, back home the Sydney Marathon was taking place, as well as the big racing happening in Berlin. I’ve got lots to catch you up on over the next few days, but I can’t write about any of that before first acknowledging the huge event that went down…

there’s a new marathon World Record of 2:01:39!

Woah. It was epic! Eluid Kipchoge ran the 42.2km at an average speed of 2:53/km to break the previous record by over a minute, and firmly establishing himself as the GOAT (greatest of all time). I mean, if you follow elite marathoning at all then you probably already realise how much of a legend Kipchoge is, between his 10 marathon wins, Olympic gold medal, 2:00:25 run during the Nike Breaking 2 event… he is a remarkable athlete, and there is much to be taken away from his attitude and approach to running, as well as the new record.

I’d spent the morning glued to the tracking app, checking every 10-15mins to see how the race was unfolding. I had all the splits up until the 30km mark, and then the app stopped updating and wouldn’t tell me when Kipchoge had cleared 35km. Argh! I switched to Twitter and saw he was on target, then hurriedly found a German network who were streaming the race online. We were on a tram heading back into Oslo from a nearby sculpture park, and I’m there getting more and more excited as the ticker clicks upwards from 40km while trusting Sye to get off at the right stop. Of course, our stop came just as Kipchoge crossed the line so everything was a bit mad but then there we were on the sidewalk and I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t quite understand how people were just walking around like normal, not recognising what had just happened!

The reason this new world record is so exciting is because it proves how hard work, determination and the right mindset will eventually pay off. We all have our own goals in mind (probably not beating the WR!), and sometimes they feel like they’re absolutely impossible. We put in the training and then go and race, but often it doesn’t quite come together. Or perhaps we make some small steps of progress, but still don’t get all the way to our big goal. It took Kipchoge 11 marathons to break the WR, but eventually he got there. It took me 13 marathons to BQ, but eventually I got there. It’s a reminder that no matter what your current or future goal is, if you keep on chipping away and working towards it, you will get there.

There is also much to be learned from Kipchoge’s attitude towards running. He is a graceful and intelligent man, who believes that running is as much about the mind as it is the body. I recommend reading this New York Times article about him for an insight into his mental approach to each race. What I love most is how he smiles when racing, to remember that he is there because he enjoys running, that it brings him pleasure. In Berlin, you could see that on his face when he came down towards the Brandenburger Tor, and when he leapt into the arms of his coach & mentor, Patrick Sang. It was an incredible moment to watch, and an important reminder that we should also carry with us when we head out and run.

Go watch the final stages of his race, I hope you get as much pleasure and inspiration from it as I did.

[Photos:John Macdougall/Agence France-Presse – Getty Images and Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters]

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