The 2018 Commonwealth Games taught us a valuable lesson about how we choose to live and accepting the consequences of our choices.
The men’s marathon in the recent Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games highlights what attracts many of us to endurance sports. It demonstrated in brutal fashion that it is not just a race between competitors, but is also a battle between you, the distance and the elements and your ability to judge these and manage accordingly.
We admire Callum Hawkins who made a break early in the race in an attempt to break the spirit of his rivals and run away with the gold medal. We marvel at the mental toughness that allowed him to push his body long past the threshold of pain which would have stopped most.
We wince at the distressing scenes as his body ultimately gives out, unable to go on any longer his legs collapse beneath him in exhaustion and he falls to the ground.
Thankfully, Callum is going to be ok.
Where Callum Hawkins got it wrong
The harsh reality though is that Callum misjudged the race.
Whether he went out too hard, misjudged the impact of the heat, didn’t take on enough fluids or nutrition (or more likely a combination of all four), unfortunately he got it wrong.
The marathon is run over 42.195km, and the winner is the first person across that finish line – not the one who leads for the greater part of the race.
Related: Sometimes you get a second chance
How the Turtle won the race
Michael Shelley, who’s nickname is Turtle (although perhaps it should be changed to tortoise) ran the perfect race in the conditions.
He was prepared to stick to his plan and let Callum run off ahead. He knew he had to cede control of the result because his first priority was ensuring he would finish. In the end, he ran past a prone Callum at the 40km mark and was able to keep going to the finish line.
So what can we draw from the 2018 Commonwealth Games Men’s Marathon?
To achieve great results, you’ve got to take a risk – and be prepared to accept that it won’t always work out the way you’d hoped.
You’ve also got to know what it is your highest priority and target that, mindful that other, lesser priorities may be pushed to the side.
Or if you want to you can decide that you never want to fail. You can shuffle through life, always keeping well within your limits and in doing so can be sure you will never collapse in exhaustion. You can do that, but you will never know what is possible, you will never achieve your potential.
So take a moment to consider… how are you choosing to live, and are you ready to accept the consequences of your choices?
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