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Breaking “impossible” barriers

World Record, Eliud Kipcho, Human, Finish, Wining,

About a month ago I wrote about testing the limits and how Roger Bannister was the first man to do the “impossible” by running a mile in less than 4 minutes. I then said that “it is our achieving and ambitious nature that enables us to still set new world records.” After the four minute barrier was shattered it was like a floodgate that opened and the new world record lasted for only 46 days and within one year 37 runners also broke the 4 minute barrier.

Two world records

And there we saw it again this weekend. Two records in the marathon.

Kenya’s Eluid Kipchoge became the first man in history to run a marathon (42,2 km) in less than 2 hours. What a barrier to break. His time of 1:59:40,2 means that he ran every kilometre in 2 minutes 50 seconds (about 17 seconds per 100 meter).

Because of the numerous pacesetters and the special conditions and technology used for the record attempt, it resulted that the time will not be acknowledged as an official world record; but it has proven that a sub 2 hour marathon is indeed humanly possible. I’ll watch with anticipation to see what effect this breakthrough will hold for marathon runners in future.

The other record was another Kenyan Bridget Kosgei’s world record for women in the Chicago marathon. She shattered the previous record by more than a minute to finish in a time of 2:14:4. The first man ever to run faster than that was Basil Heatley of the United Kingdom who set the then world record of 2:13:55 on 13 June 1964. It was only after WW2 in 1952 that the first man was able to run a marathon faster than 2:25. At present the world record for men in the age group 55+ is 2:25:56.

Can we do any better?

How many records can still be bettered?

There will always be people who will see an existing record as a challenge, but over time the stakes have become incredibly high. But what is needed for somebody to reach such a level of excellence in whatever he or she does?

# It’s in the genes

Be Yourself, Red, Umbrella, ImpossibleThe first thing we need to acknowledge is that natural ability or talent plays a vital role. The famous Bruce Fordyce, known for his incredible performances in the Comrades Marathon, once said that

he chose his parents well.

Sebastian Coe, another renowned athlete of yesteryear ran his 1min 41,73 world record in the 800m in 1981. Breaking it down we see that he ran each 100m in 12,72 seconds. Coe’s best time for a 100m sprint was 10,5 seconds so his 800m record was 2,2 seconds per 100 meter slower than his optimum speed.

But we know that not all of us can run that fast. If you are an athlete with a best time of 12 seconds in the 100m there is no way you’ll be able to run such an 800m.

Part of your success lies in your genes.

What about hard work?

Yet, even though you may have the

genes, that alone will not make you a superstar.

You still need to work extremely hard to reach a world class performance in whatever you do. But to work extremely hard on something in which you are not really talented, will never make you extremely successful.

Be yourself

Therefore I would encourage you to rather spend your time and energy working on your strengths than continually trying to get better at your weaknesses. Often we compare ourselves to others and then try to excel at what they are good at. Let us do what the Bible teaches in Rom 12:6 “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” (MSG)

Your best achievements will come from those areas where you are really gifted and talented. A Career Direct Assessment will not only show who you are, but will also point you in the right direction.

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