The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Achievement often takes a team effort

Last week Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours, completing it in one hour and 59.40 seconds. While the time will not count as an official record as it did not take place in open competition conditions, it was an incredible achievement and pushed the boundaries of human endeavour. 

Kipchoge also holds the official world record at 2.01.39 and he and his team meticulously planned for his run in Vienna on Saturday 12 October. They had learnt a great deal from an unsuccessful attempt two years previously and made the necessary adjustments in their planning and preparation. Kipchoge's team considered obvious things as the gradient of the course, weather conditions, altitude and the time zone in comparison to his training base and settled on a newly laid stretch of road in parkland in Vienna, Italy. 

In an achievement that Kipchoge reportedly compared to man first landing on the moon, the depth of the level of planning and the importance of the team working towards one goal was obvious. Over 40 professional runners were involved as pacemakers and they ran in a formation around Kipchoge to reduce air resistance, with a fresh group of runners replacing them when needed. The attempt also included lasers from a pace car and lines on the road to guide the runners along the shortest possible course and support cyclists to deliver carbohydrate shots and fluids. These people were just part of the team who worked tirelessly together towards the goal of breaking the two-hour marathon time. Their dedication and selflessness helped Kipchoge in his historic athletic achievement. 

While most people chase their goals without the resources that were available to Kipchoge, they often have a team around them, offering support and doing all they can to help. As our Senior School students start their new academic year, it is timely to remind them of the support of the large team around them, that includes family, friends, peers, staff, members of the College community and the wider community. Some will choose to engage more actively with this  team  and this is often guided by personality, but I encourage all of our students to reach out and utilise the support of 'their' team. Help is available and the ability to draw on previous personal experience, as well as the experiences of others is important.

Kipchoge's team used the hashtag "# nohumanislimited " to encapsulate his performance. What our boys can achieve may just surprise them.

Mr  Peter Burt
Head of Senior School