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Running your dream mile?

“To stay alive, you need to have something significant yet to do.”  I am often reminded of this phrase I heard on a video about “Vision” years ago.

Do you have a dream of something significant that you would like to do?

Maybe you don’t even want to share it with people because they might think that you are crazy, or too old, or most common, that it is impossible.  And what you believe is true unto you.  If you believe it is impossible, it will be.  Prov 18:21 says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat its fruit.” ESV

Early 1954 such a situation was the talk of the time.  There was a barrier that people called an insurmountable barrier, yet it became an elusive obsession for all middle distance runners – to run a mile (±1610m) in less than 4 minutes.

At that stage the Sweed Gunder Hägg’s world record of 4:01,3 already stood for nine years.

One 25 year old medical student from Oxford university, though, believed that breaking the four minute barrier was not beyond his reach.  Although a number of athletes during that time ran times of 4:04 and even 4:02, the elusive “dream mile” of less than 4 minutes still eluded them.

And then on 6 May 1954 Roger Bannister and 5 others lined up for the historic race on the athletic oval at Oxford University.

When the race was over the stadium announcer did as announcers often do, by delaying the announcement of the time Bannister ran as long as possible:  “Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event nine, the one mile: first, number forty one, R. G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which—subject to ratification—will be a new English Native, British National, … and World Record. The time was three…”  (Wikipedia)

The roar of the crowd drowned out the rest of the announcement. Bannister’s time was 3 min 59,4 sec.  And all of a sudden the impossible … was possible.

What most people don’t realise is that the greatest aspect of this breakthrough was what it did for others.  Suddenly everybody who previously believed that a sub four minute mile was impossible, now believed that it was possible.  Bannister’s record only lasted 46 days and within one year, 37 runners also broke the 4 minute barrier.

Today a mile in less than 3:50 is called a “modern dream mile” and the world record is 3:43,13.  Now they say the next barrier to break is 3:40.  Impossible …?

What is your dream?  Impossible?  Or maybe … not?

The tragedy of cemeteries is all the unrealised potential and dreams that are buried there.  Andrew Matthews in his book Follow your Heart says that the essence of positive thinking is not that it offers guarantees, but it gives you your best chance of success.  Some people say “I think like I do because my life is a mess!” But perhaps it is rather a case of “A person’s life is a mess because he thinks like he does!”

Want to realise that dream that you continually postpone to “someday”?  What about changing the impossible to maybe and then to possible.  Why not start today?

And what the heck what others say.  Once you succeed they will be the first to ask “How did you do it?” because everyone admires success.

Bob Buford in his book Finishing Well reasons that if we plan to live our lives significantly, we should in our old age be able to look back and say that it was a good life; finished well.  It seems like the Apostle Paul had something similar in mind when he wrote in 1 Cor 9:26  “That is why I run straight for the finish line; that is why I am like a boxer who does not waste his punches.” GNB

Maybe six decades after that first dream mile, it is time to polish up on our own dreams.  I believe that we all have something significant yet to do.

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