Recently I was discussing with a colleague the distance of the modern marathon. The race was established in 1896 at the Athens Olympics and was inspired by the events of 490BC after the battle of Marathon. A Greek soldier Pheidippides ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to deliver the message that the Greeks had beaten the Persians, he pronounced ‘Niki’ (victory) and then he died of exhaustion. The original distance from Marathon to Athens is approximately 24.85 miles. In 1908 during the Olympic Games in London the distance was extended to 26.2 miles. This additional distance was required to finish the race in front of the Royal family’s viewing box. Since 1924 the official marathon was set to 26.2 miles.
I was in London recently and had the privilege to watch my friend run his first marathon. The whole weekend was very inspiring and he explained that he had completed over 500 miles of training in preparation for the 26.2 mile race.
During the cold and dark mornings my friend spent many lonely hours in preparation, pounding the paths and roads near his home to prepare his body. There were no shortcuts because he knew he would only be cheating himself. Good intentions would not help him, mind over matter could offer little help, the latest pair of running shoes, although providing some comfort, would also not prepare him for the grueling 26 mile road race. What was required was a clear training plan, the motivation to start and the drive to complete each defined stage to reach the final goal. Each step was not exciting, almost mundane, the training schedule was not dramatic, what was required was consistency over many weeks and months to condition mind, body and spirit and to never give up!
He gave 100% during the 500 miles of training and on race day. He achieved his goal and at the end of the race had nothing left to give. Although our modern marathon is 26.2 miles, my friend’s marathon was 526.2 miles! Do not underestimate the preparation required and the toll on the body, many have died trying to complete this race.
Success in the marathon is achieved one step at a time, a single step repeated consistently over time. There is no quantum leap, no short cut, no get there quick scheme or silver bullet that will propel you to the end. It is the slow track to success, a single step, a step repeated consistently and the will-power to improve. To be better today, than yesterday. A step closer to personal success and a step further away from being average and in the ‘sea of sameness’ that many of us find ourselves drifting in.
There is an athlete inside all of us. Day after day, week after week we need to take small and consistent steps in the race of life. We don’t see the end of the track, we cannot see around the next corner, our future is hidden from view, however, we still need a plan in our lives to improve.
As you consider life’s journey, like our marathon runner, are you taking small daily steps closer to success? Steps closer to your goals in your health, relationships, finance and career? In the marathon of life there are no competitors, we don’t race against others. We race for and against ourselves, to achieve a life of happiness, success and ultimate fulfillment.
There is no fast track or short cut to success. Take the first step to improve yourself and repeat it consistently and you will achieve success in the marathon of life …
Making Steps and Leaving Footprints…