Records – there to be broken

From Easter Bank Holiday 2017

Ah yes! A long weekend. After a long laborious weeks work you’re looking forward to kicking back on a Friday evening, feet up with a glass of your favorite tipple and catching up on your latest Netflix addiction. Until you realise it’s Good Friday in Ireland; only the second day of the year alcohol cannot be purchased in the country despite outcries from publicans and the public alike every year. Panic sets in. The thirsts grows along with the realisation that on the way home from work last night the queues into the supermarket were not for breakfast supplies for the next morning but for a last minute alcohol run.   Not having access to something makes us want it more. Scarcity drives the consumer into action. Sell out concerts make you want to be there more. Signs with “last few remaining items” clear out shelves in supermarkets. And in this same way our sporting heroes behave similarly: they strive to push boundaries; achieve the impossible; break goal scoring records on the pitch and successive clean sheets in football; to become the first to win back to back titles; and the holy grail – world records. And on the back of an extravagant recent attempt we may be on the brink of witnessing the sub 2 hour marathon, a feat once (and largely still) thought impossible.


When Usain Bolt beat the 100m world record he did so by 1.6 percent. That may not sound like much but it bloody well is. He’s travelling at a maximum speed of 27.8 mph. A sub 2 hour marathon would mean running the current record of 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds set by Kenyan Dennis Kimetto 2.5% faster. The Kenyan was the first to go under 2 hours and 3 minutes but sub 2 hour would mean a pace of 4 minutes 34 secs per mile! Bonkers! The recent 2017 attempt was thought impossible by many experts, some thinking it may be done but not for decades. This attempt was by a group of elite athletes led by a team of academic researchers aiming to push the record nearly three minutes faster. And they came very very close albeit the result would not have stood as an official world record due to it being laps of a track and the racing field immersed with pacers as needed. After the 42km Eluid Kipchoge was just 26 seconds the wrong side of the 2 hour mark. Incredible. Nonetheless it has sparked the conversation of when, if ever, will this happen?


In 1954 Sir Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile. He did this while studying medicine as an amateur athlete squeezing in training when he could often during lunch breaks. He came in in a time of 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. His record lasted 46 days before it was broken again in a time of 3 minutes 57.9. This recent record breaking attempt was made by pro athletes with big reward money at stake handpicked by researchers and big companies looking to associate their running shoe product with these machines of athletes. Despite this some dropped way off the pace early on. Kipchoge was well on course until the latter stages.

It may still be many years before we see an official sub 2 hour marathon but based on this recent display it appears we are likely to see it. And when this arbitrary number of 2 hours is broken much like Bannisters record it will likely be further bettered as technology, training and humanity continues to evolve. In the mean time us mere mortals will set our own targets wanting to better ourselves and push as far as we can: from career progression to better work life balance or a  PB in the local Park Run.  Keep on striving towards your goal as it gets more realistic the closer you get to it. Mine is my yearly quest for a sub 3 Dublin marathon starting this week with a more structured  training programme. While I’ve gone under 3 hours I never have in Dublin, losing out by 17 secs one year and further away each year since. What is your goal and how do you pan on getting there?

For  more information on any of the issues addressed throughout this article please contact the clinic via email at, Twitter @mccabephysio, Facebook at McCabe Physiotherapy or visit

Rob McCabe MISCP

Chartered Physiotherapist

MSc (pre reg) Physiotherapy, BSc Sport Science and Health, MSc Sports Physiotherapy, PG Dip Orthopaedic Medicine

Orchard House, Moorefield Rd, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Click here for a link to previous blogs







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