Over the course of one weekend, two runners, a man and a woman, did something that has never been done. The man, Eliud Kipchoge, ran 26.2 miles in under two hours. That’s an average of a 4:34 mile, a new world record.
Brigid Kosgei ran 26.2 miles in 2:14:04, establishing a new world record.
Both of these almost unimaginable human accomplishments are remarkable in so many ways. Here are three worth noting.
First, of the 195 countries in the world, both runners hail from the same country, one that has just 0.6 percent of the world’s population, Kenya.
Second, both world records were demolished in the same weekend.
And finally, both runners wore Vaporfly shoes by Nike, the same that have been worn by all five of the fastest men’s marathoner runners in history.
Here’s what seems so interesting, as we ponder what is possible for our species. What strikes me is the confluence of time, technology, and talent.
A country that delivers the two fastest people on the planet cares deeply about the power of human performance and speed. It is not a coincidence that these two remarkable record breakers are from the same country. The best of the best are tested in environments of high expectations, and Kenya is such a place when it comes to how fast a human can traverse the ground.
The fact that both records were set within 48 hours of each other is also no coincidence. There are moments in time when the universe brings forth greatness. This is one of those times.
And of the 35 plus brands selling running shoes, how is it that only one is on the feet of the fastest people on earth? Nike is a world-leading company for the same reason Kenya is a world-leading producer of human speed: they care about it more, work harder than anyone else, and don’t stop until they succeed.
There are feats of amazing human accomplishment every day, most of which we will never see.
But on one weekend in October, the world saw the effort of two people break through barriers of physical performance once thought impossible.
When the moment is right, enabled by the right technology, and with the will of an entire nation put forth, the discipline, determination, and raw talent of a single man and one woman can reveal human greatness and accomplishment that should inspire all of us to believe in the impossible.