Click here for audio: The world’s tenth-fastest marathon runner

What a beautiful failure.


I remember this story from the New York marathon not so many years ago. It was, and is, remarkable for a number of reasons and I will tell it from memory, without Googling it*.


One of the elite runners in that race got into trouble. This happens to everyone and is not at all surprising when a human is running at over 20 kilometers per hour for just over two hours. If you don’t run, I’ll put that into some kind of perspective. It’s faster than you can sprint for five seconds. For over two hours.


The story I half remember is about an athlete who just collapsed on the New York route. Maybe he had over-trained. Maybe he had gone out too fast. But he collapsed.


He collapsed in a residential area. Someone watching the race and who lived nearby went home and got a blanket for him. It’s cold.


The athlete was taken care of and did fine. I don’t know who this runner was, but I remember he was top ten in the world at the time.


He was one of the fastest men in the world in the marathon and this wasn’t even a big story. I don’t remember his name and the guy who gave him the blanket didn’t know who he was helping.


Imagine what strength takes to be the world’s tenth-fastest marathon runner. You are a human miracle, and nobody knows who you are.


Likewise, us.


We are all the world’s tenth-fastest marathon runner.


And that makes us special.  


*Initially I found no record of this. And then

Almost 14 years ago, so my memory was sketchy. But then it usually is.


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