Watch this for two hours and become a better person
Life lessons from the latest sporting miracle man
While the Boks were holding onto their victory over the All Blacks on Saturday last week, another, even more impressive, sporting miracle was occurring on the other side of the world in Berlin.
That’s where Kenyan marathon marvel Eliud Kipchoge became the closest man to breaking the legendary two-hour mark with a world record victory in a time of 2:01:39. Kipchoge broke the previous record of 2:02:57 set at the same race in 2014 by fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto.
According to LetsRun.com, this is to running what Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game is to basketball and Usain Bolt’s 9.48 is to the 100m. The website added that “this run deserves every accolade said about it. The lower the world record gets, the harder it is to be broken, and the less it should be broken by. Yet Eliud Kipchoge just broke the record by more than any man in the last 41 years, and he ran the last 10 miles by himself.”
Writing in The Atlantic, Vernon Loeb pointed out that “the 33-year-old Kipchoge, who is 5 foot 6 (1.7m) and weighs 115 pounds (52kg), had run 26 straight, blazingly fast, four-minute and 38-second miles.”
Thirty years ago when Ethiopian Belayneh Dinsamo set a world record time in Rotterdam of 2:06;50, that seemed as close as any man would get to a two-hour marathon, and his record stood for 10 years. However, since 1998, world record times have been increasingly creeping towards the mythical two-hour mark.
Kipchoge’s achievement is one giant leap not only for distance runners but for mankind and, as Loeb points out, “even if you couldn’t care less about distance running or world records, Kipchoge’s accomplishment is worth pondering for what it says about human endurance and what the body is capable of, in terms of cardiovascular strength and muscle efficiency”.
So what does it take to turn yourself from a couch-happy marathon watcher into a world-record holder? Well, according to a profile published in the New York Times on Saturday, Kipchoge is a singular minded man who believes “only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are slave to your moods and passions.”
Perhaps that’s a bit more discipline than most of us can face so for now you may want to stay watching Kipchoge doing it for all of us from the safety of your couch.