With the dust just about settled on another London Marathon, its an apt time to reflect on what still remains one of my favourite races from the many races I competed in. And what a race it was this year for all competitors, including my two S4F Squad Members Gerry and Ali. As their coach I could not be happier for the two of them; all their dedication and hard training came together on race day to deliver two phenomenal race times. Gerry achieved a long held dream of breaking 3 hours with a 2:59 and Ali dipped under 3:20 with a 10 minute improvement from last year. Sub 3 for men and sub 3:20 for women means they get to breath pretty rarified air that only a tiny, tiny proportion of the population ever get to experience.
As pleasing as their successful performances were I also appreciate and embrace how each of them must have danced right on the edge of failure at many points during the race. I believe endurance racing is one of the purest forms of personal challenge any of us can take on. Competition provides a cutting edge to measure ourselves against. There are no satisfactory excuses and no faking a competition outcome: we either delivered on that particular day or we didn’t. To expose yourself to such instant and unambiguous potential failure takes real bravery and self awareness. A form of bravery that many, many people shy away from.
That bravery takes on monumental dimensions when we set ourselves ambitious targets for race day because now we are creeping ever closer to that knife edge of failure and it’s a certainty that at some point we are going to fail. Rather than shy away from that I think it’s at those edges of failure that we really get to live and get to understand ourselves. Those are the moments we really get to see who we are and if we like what we see!
So for Gerry and Ali I salute their monumental braveness on Sunday and for succeeding and I look forward to continuing to work with them; sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing on that all important knife edge.