September 25th 2011, and the Berlin marathon took place in Germany. There were lots of goal achievement lessons that shouted out to me, but I want to focus on just one here – read on to find out what it is…
The marathon could be viewed as a classic subject in the goal achievement field – something that’s on many people’s wish list of achievements, including my own.
Well, it *was* on my list, until I completed the London Marathon in 2008.
Some people may think it’s too obvious a subject to use when delivering lessons about goals, that is nothing new to learn. I disagree, and here’s why…
I want to look at the winner of the men’s race, Patrick Makau. The Kenyan ran a time of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds, taking a huge chunk out of the old world record.
Impressive? Of course, but was it actually the fastest marathon ever seen?
That may seem a silly question, but it goes to the point I want to make, which centres around the difference between ‘world record’ and world best.’
The IAAF, which is the athletics world body, sets rules which have to be followed for world records to be ‘official’. If marathons were run around a track, it would be less of an issue, but because they are run around city streets, it becomes huge.
One important rule is about how much the course can be considered ‘downhill’. If the course drops too many metres over the 26 miles distance, that course cannot be included in world records.
So, any time run on such a course, like Boston for example, which beats the world record, can only be called a ‘world best’, not a ‘world record.’ Geoffrey Mutai, another Kenyan, ran 2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds in the 2011 Boston, but that will not show in the record books as the world record.
I love my sport, so find this kind of technicality fascinating. You might not be so interested in the marathon details, but the general goal achievement point stands out – that outside influences beyond your control can have massive impact on your goals.
Neither Mutai nor Makau set those rules, and indeed they may be changed retrospectively as has happened in the women’s event. All they can do is focus on their own preparation, and the rest of it will be what it will be.
Sometimes you have to just roll with the outside influences, accepting the things you can’t change, and that’s why Patrick Makau is the new world record holder, despite being over 30 seconds slower than someone else has already run!
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