Let me repeat that.
Sunday 16 October 2018, a date to remember, as Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world marathon record, taking nearly one minute and 20 seconds off the previous best time.
For those of us who think in terms of more modest distances, let’s put this into context. This is an average pace of 2 minutes 53 seconds per kilometre. The closest I have come to that is when the GPS on my Garmin is playing up (yes, if you check out my Strava on 13 June 2018 you will see I apparently ran a kilometre in a world record busting one minute and 13 seconds….). But back to Kipchoge, it seems almost inconceivable to this mere mortal that he ran an average of 2 minutes and 53 seconds per kilometre not just for one kilometre, but for 42.2 kilometres. Just wow. The big question now surely is when, not if, the magical 2 hour barrier will be beaten.
But anyway, you don’t want to read about some world class marathon runner who ran a record time in the cool European air on a marathon course renowned for its flat, soft asphalt surface and lack of bends. This is an Asian running blog. You want to hear about a middle aged newbie recreational runner who will be trying to weave between thousands of other competitors in the sun and humidity of Singapore whilst he tries to break his own 2 hour target (albeit for a half not a full marathon).
But first a bit about myself. I only really started running at the start of this year. I’d literally never even run 10 kilometres, but somehow I managed, with a few months’ training, to finish the NTUC Income Eco Run half marathon in a fairly respectable 2 hours 6 minutes and 35 seconds. That was back in April. My second half marathon approaches – the 2XU SG Run on 6 October. It’s a flag off at 5.30pm so I’m hoping for a rainy run up and a cloudy start as the thought of sweltering in the sun even before we get going is making my perennially sore calf muscles twitch with nervous apprehension. But I’m hopeful, with some more mileage under my belt since my last run, that I can finish in under 2 hours. It will take quite an improvement though; to be precise I will need to knock approximately 18.7 seconds on average off each kilometre. Which takes me back neatly to the full marathon record. If Kipchoge wants to beat two hours, he “only” needs to knock 2.37 seconds off his average pace, a fraction of what I will need to do to meet my goal. So if I can hit my more modest 2 hour target, surely there will be no excuses for Kipchoge …..