Healthy Living: Better Together | Opinions – The Capital Journal

They said it couldnt be done. No person in history had ever broken the two-hour mark for a marathon run. The closest anyone had ever come was short one minute and 39 seconds. So the question was still left in the air. Could the human body be trained to push that limit. The short answer is yes. How that happened takes a little longer to explain.

It officially started in 2016, but honestly Eliud Kipchoge had been dreaming of this for much

longer. Nike announced that they were going to train the first person to break the two- hour barrier in the marathon, a 26.2 mile race. Three runners were selected to train together in their fancy running shoes and specially-formulated hydration drink & diet on a closed course with perfect weather. It was a spectacular event, only so see Kipchoge miss the mark by 25 seconds.

Fast forward to October 12th of this year. Kipchoge was set to try again, but with several noticeable changes. He was the only runner attempting to break the barrier. The course was still closed with perfect weather, however there was a pace car in front that shot out a green laser to keep him on point with his speed and also show the best path to take. The other big difference? He had a team to run with. A total of 41 runners were prepared to run along with Kipchoge in an open V formation to act as a wind tunnel and also help with pace. These pacers were split into teams that would switch out in a beautiful piece of choreography every three miles. This kept them fresh, as they had the most important job of working together to help Kipchoge break the record. As a team they would train 124-140 miles per week. They would eat together, live together. They became a family along with the race directors and staff.

Because of the methods used for this project it will not go down as a world record, but it does prove that it is possible. The pacing alone is incredible. To break two-hours would mean running a 4:34 minute mile, for 26 miles with an average speed of 13.16 mph. Simply put thats cooking.

I am the happiest man in the world to be the first human to run under two hours, and I can tell people that no human is limited, Kipchoge said. I expect more people all over the world to run under two hours after today.

My biggest take away from all of this was the pacemakers. They were chosen to do one job, which was to ensure Kipchoge stayed motivated and on pace. They knew that while Eliud would receive a lot of the praise, they were part of the bigger picture of what this meant for other runners, even themselves worldwide.

The pacemakers did a great job they are among the best runners of all time, Kipchoge said. I thank them and appreciate them for accepting to do the job.

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The moral of the story? While running may look like an individual sport at first glance, its really the most amazing team sport, with strangers and friends encouraging each other along the way. Whenever I go to a race, by goal is not to win but to first have fun and finish, and secnd try to run a little faster than the last time.

When you are working out, know that you are never truly alone. While your results are geared towards you, there are many giving you a nod, even if it is silently from the person next to you on the treadmill or in a group exercise class. We are community. Thats why I always say we are better together, stronger together and in this together.

Aaron Fabel, B.A. in exercise science & wellness, is the CEO at the Oahe Family YMCA. He can be reached by email at

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Healthy Living: Better Together | Opinions - The Capital Journal

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