Before 1954, some thought that running a mile in under 4 minutes was impossible. Then, at a track in Oxford, Roger Bannister ran it in 3:59:04. With the track in mind, the Rodillian Runners turned up at the Thornes Park athletics track to see if we could follow in Roger’s footsteps. One thing we did have in common with that day is that some thought that for us, running a mile in under 4 minutes was impossible. Unlike 1954 though, in this case, they were right!
Running on a track is a bit unusual for my friends and I, who major on roads and trails, but I think we enjoyed the experience. We had some good times though but 4 minutes remains out of reach. Our fastest man was Edd who managed a mile in just 5:36. Edd, all you have to do is keep that up for 26.2 miles and you’ll get a half descent Marathon time! If you think that’s fanciful, Josh Griffiths, who stunned the athletics establishment by, as a mere “club runner”, being the first Britain home in the London Marathon, sustaining about 5:15 minute miles.
The point of course is, that, as the saying goes, it’s all relative. We all as individual athletes, have our own 4 minute miles, the achievement of each is personally just as significant and involves no less personal effort.
I expect other runners are like me in that we all have our own fitness benchmarks. These are times which we expect to be able to achieve when we are fit, not absolute PBs but times that we can achieve with moderate or “threshold” effort. When I am not able to achieve one of these benchmark levels, I tell myself that when I get back, I shouldn’t beat myself up for not achieving personal bests, but be thankful that I am fit enough to achieve what in my book, are good times. One such benchmark for me is a 24 minute 5K, which I was able to do at Wakefield Thornes parkrun last Saturday. This pleases me because it means I have a good level of fitness and a platform for my upcoming Marathon training.
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” 1 Timothy 4:4 (NIV)