What we can learn from the World’s First Sub 2 hour marathon

On Sunday 12 October 2019, Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to ever run a marathon (42.2km or 26.21miles) under 2 hours.
His official time to complete the marathon is 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds… he broke it by just 19 seconds!

The sub-2 hour marathon was seen impossible and almost given up on by nearly every professional long-distance runner. The feat of running quicker than 3 minutes for every kilometre… for 42+ kilometres seemed inhuman and out of reach for everyone.

Now that Eliud has proven that the impossible is possible, and actually a reality, I wonder how many other elite runners will break this barrier in marathon running?

I believe that we will see more runners achieving this new 2-hour target, because it has happened before.

Back in 1954, Roger Bannister was the first person to break the 4-minute mile record and within one year of him setting a new standard, 24 people also managed to run 4-minute!
24 people, who thought it was impossible almost overnight achieved the same goal!

So… it wasn’t a question of physical capability. One year isn’t enough to dramatically change our physiologically and achieve new goals.
What happened is they changed their mindset. From feeding the “it’s not possible” story, they changed their belief about what is possible, and started believing… (and then accomplished it!)

Where have you created a proverbial glass ceiling on your own potential?

You may not have a desire to take up running and break a world record, but I would assert that there’s a ‘marathon’ in your life with a virtual barrier preventing you from accomplishing it.

The unattainable marathon may be a financial barrier in your business, creating a deeper & more loving relationship with your partner, having more time in your day… wherever it is, we have the ability to stop feeding the current situation and upgrade our beliefs – and actions – to achieving the impossible in our life.

Below are 6 lessons we can learn and apply to our own ‘marathon’:

  1. Believe it is possible
    If you are attempting something you think isn’t possible (or not going to happen the way you want it), unconsciously you will find a way to prove you’re right: You won’t achieve it.

    For a goal that we think is ‘impossible’ but we secretly hope it isn’t, we can start to break our limiting beliefs down, and rebuild a new, more empowering belief. Ultimately, we want to believe that we can achieve it, but the first might just be to say:
    ‘It may not be possible now, but I believe it will be possible in the near future’.
  2. Choose a date… and stick to it!
    “ONE DAY” is not in the diary, and most probably it will never happen.

    Even if you are unsure if you can achieve your goal by a certain date, put it in the diary!
    Use that deadline as a time to either celebrate you having achieved your goal, or a time to review what else you can be doing to achieve it… then put it in the diary again.

    One day, I want to swim the Channel (the water that separates England & France). I’ve been saying this for years, but it wasn’t until I said I’d complete it in 2020 did I start researching if I can achieve this.

    Will I be able to swim the Channel next year?
    I still don’t know, but I do know I’m a lot closer to answering that question since putting it in the diary!
  3. Take care of the details and the goal will take care of itself
    Before attempting any challenge, it’s important to look at the bigger picture and write down as many details as possible we may need to learn, outsource, delegate, get advice on…

    Eliud had a crew that worked behind-the-scenes to take care of all the details we didn’t see. People managed the clothes & shoes he wore, the food & drink he ate before and during the run, the car he followed, a filming crew to catch the magical moment… Every detail was looked at, not just how fast he could run for the two hours.

    What do you need present (or removed?) to achieve your goal?
  4. Have a supportive team enrolled in your success
    Taking on and stepping up to a new level may require more than just you.

    To break the marathon time, there were 41 pacers running in stages to ensure Eliud kept at the goal-pace. Plus, it wasn’t announced how many people were supporting in the support vehicles, around the course and back at HQ.

    Who can you enrol in supporting you in your new goal?
    They might be someone with a certain skillset to directly help you, or it could be someone like my mother who calls me to remind me I can do it, and she’s proud of me!
  5. Every Step Counts
    During the 2-hours, every single step Eliud ran was monitored and checked against his goal-time. Extreme? Yes, but he needed to do it because his goal was extreme.
    He didn’t want to run too slow, otherwise he would not break the record. Nor did he want to run too fast, as he might run out of energy before the end.
    Everything was planned to the second and centimetre.

    We may not need to review our progress to such detail, but we do need to have time to regularly review and adjust to ensure we stay on-track.

    My goal of swimming the Channel in 2020 has a Review date in February to monitor my shoulder rehabilitation (injuries from this year) and also financial target (it’s not cheap to organise a boat and crew). Until this date, I am focusing on the actions in my plan.
  6. Only focus on what you can control
    What if it rained? What if I fell ill a week before the race? What if a hacker emptied my bank balance just before I paid the deposit?

    In step 3, answer as many “What if…?” questions as possible. By covering almost all eventualities, when it comes to implementing your plan, you can release the fear of ‘what if’ and focus on the actions of ‘what is’.
Screenshot 2019 10 31 17.47.16 1024x976 - What we can learn from the World's First Sub 2 hour marathon

Most of the work is completed well before we even reach the finish line. The strength and conviction of achieving a goal lies in the supporting framework, the structure and systems in place to hold us to account to what we want to accomplish.

Don’t wait for tomorrow, or someone else to prove it’s possible. You can be the one to bring the impossible to life!

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