In case you missed one of the greatest feats in the history of mankind Saturday morning, Eliud Kipchoge ran the first ever marathon under 2 hours, coming in at 1:59:40. It was worth staying up until 5am to watch the event in Vienna, Austria. The 2-hour marathon barrier was the biggest time barrier left in competitive running. Let me break it down for you if you aren’t familiar with how fast that is.

  • 4:34 per mile for 26.2 miles. That’s almost as fast as my mile PR, which is pretty humbling.
  • His average speed was 13.16 mph.
  • 1:08 every 400m (1 lap on a track), 105 times.

The time won’t count as a world record because of the course, special pacing groups, and how fluids were easily handed to him during the time trial. Kipchoge’s goal was to prove that no human is limited. He wanted to prove that humans can run under 2 hours for a marathon. The achievement is being compared to Roger Bannister breaking 4 minutes in the mile for the first time and even when man walked on the moon.

We all have barriers in our lives, most likely not as big as breaking 2-hours in the marathon. Maybe it is learning how to play an instrument, saving up money for a beach home, writing a book, or doing well on a big project at work. We can all learn some things from Kipchoge on how to reach those goals:

  1. Teamwork. Eliud used 9 different groups of pacers to lead him through his entire run. Teams of 7 rotated in and out until the final stretch of the race. You can’t reach a big goal by yourself. Lean on people who can help you.
  2. Have a clear target. Kipchoge has had his mind set on breaking 2 for many years. 2 and a half years ago he tried Breaking 2 with a big Nike set up in Italy and fell 26 seconds short. He knew what he wanted to do years in advance and kept his sights set on what he wanted.
  3. Work hard. Being a fast marathon runner takes years and continuous 100+ mile weeks. If you want to reach a big goal, you have to put in hours and hours of preparation to be ready to take action when the time comes. You can’t sit around and hope for something great to happen.
  4. Reaching your goals elevates others. You will see huge improvements in marathon performances over the next few years because one man made the impossible possible. I bet the legitimate world record will be lowered in the next 2 years as runners get closer to breaking 2 hours in a world record eligible event. Yesterday morning, Brigid Kosgei broke the women’s marathon world record by 1 minute and 21 seconds at the Chicago Marathon. That’s a huge drop! When you reach your goals, others will start to reach theirs. When you make the impossible possible, others will follow.
  5. Big achievements bring people together. People from all over the world flew to Vienna to witness one of the greatest feats in sports history. Kipchoge had world-class pacers from all over the world leading him through the course. Once he crossed the finish line, there was no concern about how people are different, they all rallied around one man. It was one of the coolest scenes I have ever watched. Sports bring people together.

No human is limited.

I appreciate you.


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