I love all things that involve the world of sport. I have been known to become engrossed in a telecast of the World Curling Championships, nervously chewing away at potato chips while watching the stones fly in and out of the circular target zone. I am also quite possibly the world’s greatest trivia fan. For some reason, my mind has the capacity to retain the most obscure of facts. In the early 1980’s, nobody would play “Trivial Pursuits” with me more than once! To this day, my friends and family are still begging me to audition for the “Jeopardy” game show! A sports lover and a trivia aficionado; now there is a truly dangerous combination!
By now you have to be asking yourself, “Just who is this John Landy, and why is he being thanked?” On May 6, 1954, John Landy became the second man to run the mile is less than four minutes. He came in right behind Roger Bannister, the man who first broke through the legendary barrier of human performance. The two men were running side by side with less than twenty yards left in the race. Landy looked over his left shoulder to see where Bannister was, only to have Roger pass him on the right and win the race!
For the prior eleven years, runners had come within two seconds of beating the four-minute threshold in the mile run. Leading sports authorities of the day, including many runners themselves, declared that the sub-four minute mile was not humanly achievable. Just 46 days after Bannister performed the impossible, John Landy set a new record for the mile, besting his rival’s world mark by one tenth of a second! In the next two years, nine other men would run the mile with an official time under four minutes!
Scientists have performed biomechanical studies that indicate a human being is capable of running a mile in less than three minutes. The current world record is roughly three minutes and forty-three seconds. We have seen a drop of only sixteen seconds of time over a period of some fifty-seven years! The skeptics, many of them world-class milers, are saying that 3:40 will never be attained. You can only imagine their reaction to the studies performed by our aforementioned group of scientists!
We live our lives in a world of seemingly “impossible” goals. Each of us recites to ourselves the many reasons why something simply cannot be attained. When we take pause from lambasting ourselves; we find a bevy of others waiting at our doorstep, ready to remind us of our shortcomings. They join in chorus to sing the harmony of all that is simply unattainable in our lives! The question is, “will you listen to, and take to heart, the lyrics of their intoxicating song?”
The choice is yours, as always. You can look at everything that is simply impossible in your life and simply walk away from it. On the flip side of the coin, you can stoke the fires of your inner inspiration and take the challenge head on. Yes, Roger Bannister was the first in his chosen challenge, and you can be too. But I have to thank John Landy for driving home the fact that second place only relegates you to historical obscurity!