Athletics’ last great barrier has been broken

Eliud Kipchoge, Kenyan athlete, ran the marathon distance of 42.2km in under 2 hours. Until recently, the idea that a human being could break the 2-hour mark was labeled impossible, or that it would not be accomplished for generations. Kipchobe’s time was 1:59:40.

The accomplishment ranks among the greatest achievements in sports history. It completes a list of amazing human accomplishments in line with Roger Bannister’s 4-minute mile, and Jim Hines’ first 100m sprint in under 10 seconds.  To put it in perspective, Kipchobe’s time is nearly an hour faster than the first gold metal marathon time in the modern Olympics. The achievement cements Kipchobe’s place as the greatest marathon runner of all time.

Photo credit: Herbert Neubauer

The latest of a string of recent achievements

The accomplishment is part of a flood of incredible advancements in the running world.  The recent generation of marathon runners have loped nearly 4 minutes off the world marathon record. The 5 fastest marathons in history have been run in the last 13 months, and Brigid Kosgei obliterated the 16-year-old women’s record just one day after Kipchoge’s sub 2-hour feat.


Why is this happening?

Is it the shoes? Nike has created a shoe called the Vapourfly, complete with highly refined technology and carbon fiber plates that are claimed to improve running efficiency by at least 4%.  Kipchoge and the rest of the runners who have established the five fastest marathon times, as well as new world record holder Brigid Kosgei were all wearing some version of the new shoes from Nike during their runs.


There is certainly much discussion as to whether the shoes constitute an unfair advantage. However, most human accomplishments involve some level of technology and application of scientific understanding.


What 1:59:40 means for people with Learning Challenges

Running the marathon distance in under 2 hours has ignited the running world and put a spotlight on a sport that has not been in vogue in decades. When someone achieves something that was previously thought impossible, it sparks an awakening of sorts. It gives people permission to broaden their view and rethink what else may be possible. This idea of breaking new barriers and expanding the realm of what is possible will trickle out far beyond the running world. It will forge a place in our collective consciousness that will allow us understand that things can always get better.

The world of learning disabilities can often appear very bleak, especially to those who suffer directly. It can be a world of damning labels, frustrating diagnosis, and no sense of hope for the future. Being diagnosed with a learning disability can feel like a “death sentence”. They can appear as a barrier that cannot be overcome.

Fortunately, impossible barriers can be redefined and broken. People are often told that learning disabilities are permanent and there are few solutions. We now know there is technology and specific teaching methods that can be used to fully address learning disabilities such as dyslexia. A learning disability no longer has to be a “death sentence”.

Eliud Kipchoge as demonstrated that under the right conditions (and with help from technology) impossible barriers can be broken. His accomplishment serves as a reminder that the impossible can be made possible, and it is worth perusing goals that are currently beyond the horizon.  For people with learning challenges, it is a reminder that we should question perceived barriers, keep searching for solutions, and demand that the existing technology is available to everyone.

The goal of a world where learning disabilities can be fully treated, and people can unleash the full potential of their brain is now on the horizon.

[Confident Brains School providing the Arrowsmith Program serves children and adults with learning challenges. The Arrowsmith Program has been used to fully and permanently address the underlying cause of learning difficulties for more than 40 years. Arrowsmith Program originated in Canada and is now available in South East Asia through Confident Brains Pte Ltd. Contact: INFO@CONFIDENTBRAINS.COM]