Breaking 2 – What this means for the rest of humanity

Have you ever experienced the feeling of watching something so significant that it would alter the course of human history? This is exactly how I felt on Saturday, 12 October 2019. Eliud Kipchonge, the marathon world record holder broke the elusive 2-hour barrier in 1 hour 59 minutes during an event called the Ineos 1:59 Challenge held in Vienna. This is a significant feat if you take into account how difficult this is for even a skilled runner. But this blog piece is not about running. This is about what a life-changing, history-altering feat means for the rest of humanity and what we can learn from it.

Failure doesn’t mean you’re not good enough

When Kipchoge attempted to break the 2-hour barrier in the Breaking2 project in 2017 he missed the 2-hour barrier by 25 seconds. Nike organised this attempt at the Monza Race Track near Milan. His failure did not mean that he was not good enough. He still had the ability to achieve the feat. If he had given up the world would not have been able to enjoy this triumph over human nature.

Even champions need a team

Being the world champion did not mean that Kipchoge would have been able to achieve this on his own. He still needed a coach and a team of runners and support staff who helped him reach his goal. He relied on running pacers who kept him on target. His wife and children were also present at the event to support him for the first time in person.

Eliud Kipchoge pictured with his 41 pacemakers. He presented them with a signed trophy to commemorate their efforts in the #INEOS159 Challenge last night.

The right mindset 

Belief is just as important as the goal itself. Kipchoge’s slogan for the sub-2 hour attempt was “No human is limited”. This is as much a mantra as it is his personal mindset put into words

The Gold Mine Effect is a book about such mindsets. Here, author Rasmus Ankersen delves into the mindset required to reach this level of sporting excellence. Kenyan runners like Kipchoge are a potent mix of self-belief, determination and an undying spirit that puts in the hours of hard work.

Photo by Nathan Cowley from Pexels

Doing the work

Doing the work means putting in the hours of hard work and training when everyone else is resting. Kipchoge would have been spending many hours on the track, honing his skills and preparing his body for the onslaught of 42.2 kilometres at a breakneck pace.

Talent does play some part as he’s clearly a gifted runner. Getting a headstart by starting at a young age definitely contributed to his level of skill. If you did not start at a young age, you can still hone your craft by putting in at least 10,000 hours to become a master. This mythical figure is the number of hours that Malcolm Gladwell asserts is the amount of time it takes to become a professional in his book, Outliers. Starting young and doing the work can be a lethal combination.

Photo by Orest Sv from Pexels

The ripple effect of doing the impossible

The day after Kipchoge achieved his superhuman sub-2 hour feat another Kenyan runner, Brigid Kosgei set a new womens’ world record of 2:14:04 at the Chicago marathon. It is not far-fetched to assume that Kosgei was motivated by Kipchoge’s feat and that this affected her personal motivation to push her own perceived limits.

The Cooldown

Physiologist Michael J Joyner wrote a paper on the theoretical limits of marathon running and the human body. He believes that biological factors that limit our movement and biology have determined that no human can run a marathon faster than 1 hour and 58 minutes. With Kipchoge almost 2 minutes out from this theoretical limit, we are sure to see some more amazing feats in the years to come.

Eliud’s top honours

Fastest Two Unofficial Marathon Times Ever – 2-Hour Challenges

1:59:40 – Ineos Challenge – October 12, 2019
2:00:25 – Breaking 2-hours – May 6, 2017

World Record Holder, 2016 Olympic Champion and holder of Two of the Fastest 3 Official Marathons of All-Time

2:01:39 – Berlin Marathon – Sep 16, 2018
2:02:37 – London Marathon – April 28 2019

Only marathoner to have 10 official times of 2:05:00 and faster – 12 times if you also count the two 2-hour challenges

1:59:40 – Ineos Challenge – October 12, 2019
2:00:25 – Breaking 2-hours – May 6, 2017
2:01:39 – Berlin Marathon – Sep 16, 2018
2:02:37 – London Marathon – April 28 2019
2:03:05 – London Marathon – April 24, 2016
2:03:32 – Berlin Marathon – Sep 24, 2017
2:04:00 – Berlin Marathon – Sep 27, 2015
2:04:05 – Berlin Marathon – Sep 29, 2013
2:04:11 – Chicago Marathon – Oct 12, 2014
2:04:17 – London Marathon – April 22, 2018
2:04:42 – London Marathon – April 26, 2015
2:05:00 – Rotterdam Marathon – April 13, 2014

Spread the love