FROM LUCY’S STONES, TO THE MOON, TO KIPCHOGE’S RECORDS.

The ability to uniquely adapt, and potentially evolve to better suit a given objective, situation or condition, resonates across all forms of life. The African acacia tree grows deep and dense roots to reach water, the warthog, grows a pair of horns and a large hardened snout on its face to sniff out and dig its self nutrient-rich tubers from the dry savannah. With the human race, its different, with a little panache!

From the crudeness of our ancestors to creations that defy or when necessary, bend the very laws of nature. We have indeed come a long way. Airplanes for one, do both seamlessly yet, slightly over a century ago, only mad men spoke of tones of metal soaring the skies. The Wright brothers must’ve been crazy! Fast forward a hundred years and now we compete with the birds for airspace. What is it they say about necessity and invention?

Man’s first steps on the moon

Before all the rockets, gadgets and whatchamacallit, we were a primitive species. As a matter of fact, in the paleoanthropology laboratories of the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, lay the bones of ‘Lucy’ to prove it. ‘Lucy’, according to decades’ worth of research, testing and retesting, is the earliest humanoid being to roam the earth approximately 3.18million years ago.

(Left) The bones of ‘Lucy’ in the paleoanthropology laboratories of the National Museum of Ethiopia.

(Right) An illustration of what ‘Lucy’ might have looked like 3million years ago.

On a personal, more intimate note, it is characteristic for individuals to yearn for a faster, stronger and smarter form of self. Over the course of history, humanity has learnt to ably apply on a range of contexts, activities that test their limits or lack thereof so to speak

The Olympics for one, present athletes grueling sets of games on land and in water. Some, needless to say, fare better than others, while others, in the subtlest manner, obliterate the competitions neither to break and/or set records, nor for the prestigious Olympic medals, (which are of course a good thing to have hanging on your wall) but to prove to the world, and most certainly to themselves, that nothing beats the tenacity of the human mind and body.

It seems only fair for such men and women to advance through the corridors of history as a reminder, lest we neglect the effort, blood, sweat and tears that go into truly being legendary.

We have witnessed in our lifetimes, names that are synonymous with varied disciplines. In the pool, there is Phelps, on the soccer pitch, two; Rolando and Messi, on basketball pitch, there is Jordan and, on track and field, there is Eliud Kipchoge- who, for good reason, is considered the greatest long distance runner of all time! Or as we millennials love to abbreviate, GOAT! no pun intended.

Unsurprisingly, Eliud Kipchoge has taken part in virtually every other competition, losing some, okay, maybe just one. and winning a lot more. To put this into perspective, the now 37-year-old has won 12 of all 13 marathons he has entered during his decorated career. In the bag, the Rio 2016 Olympics Games marathon and four Landon Marathons.

The Kenyan born husband and father of three, has been honing his strides since 2002 at the time, specializing in the 5000meter marathons. He won bronze in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and bagged silver in Beijing, 2008. To this day since, he has been on a winning streak.

Transcending the glamour on the podium and medals on his neck, was a persistent urge to prove to the world that, if you put in the work, nothing is in the realm of impossible. Drawing inspiration from Rodger Bannister a fellow track star, who at the 1954 Olympics in Helsinki, run a mile in under four minutes! An unfathomable fete at the time.

Kipchoge endeavored to do one better, 63 years later and run a marathon sub two hours.

So close he came to achieving this at the 2018 Berlin marathon where he tore through the ribbon at a time of 2:01:39. He might not have done the ‘humanly impossible’, but it was more than enough to set a new world record- an entire minute and eighteen seconds less than the previous record.

Not one to be put down easy, less than a year later, Kipchoge fastened his laces and attempted an under two-hour marathon. This time, oh this time, he run his way into the history books! On 12 October 2019, Kipchoge ran 42.1 kilometers (26.2miles) in the time of 1:59:40, across a special course in Vienna, Austria.

Kipchoge poses next to his sub two hour marathon record

…. “I want to inspire many people, that no human is limited.” Kipchoge remarked after his superb performance.

His words, simple, yet hold the power to truly challenge self-imposed impossibilities resonating across the world’s cultures. Also, speaking volumes to the power of the mind, humanity’s greatest asset.

 

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