My thoughts on the daily addition of new Guinness world records in running
May 6, 2019
The fastest marathon dressed as a book character (female) is 3 hr 08 min 34 sec and was achieved by Naomi Flanagan (UK), dressed as Tinkerbell, at the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon, in London, UK, on 24 April 2016. Photo from The Guinness World Records
I have been spending some sleepless nights of late thinking about the possibility of becoming the best marathon runner in the world, given that Eliud Kipchoge has already made the world record almost superhuman to achieve at 2:01:39. Then this thought struck me. What if I go for a Guinness world record instead? Why not just run a 3hr marathon holding some weights? Why push so much to run close to a sub 2hr marathon when I could just wear a suit, or a skirt, and become the fastest ever marathon runner wearing a suit?
Just before writing this article, I decided to run a new Guinness world record of 5 meters running backward on one foot, which I did in four seconds! Thinking I had done the hardest part and only needed to submit the record to the Guinness Book, I visited their website but only realized that setting the record was not really the hardest part, but rather the whole process of getting it recognized, inviting adjudicators, spending some money in organizing the event and inviting witnesses, among other regulations and I just left it at that!
The fact that running is now slowly turning from being a pure competition of who runs faster than the other to more of a school music festival where the judges decide who is the winner is what has gotten me worried and to see the need to abolish all records that are not pure running.
Well, there are currently so many world records being set in running events; running while carrying weights, joggling, or eating and drinking, among others. But, my question is: Why not just drop whatever you are carrying and run a proper race if you want to be considered as the best “runner” in the world?
Why is it that other sports like football, cricket, golf and Formula 1 car racing, just to name but a few examples, do not have all these categories and interesting excuses for setting world records and becoming famous?
As a fan of running, it is my wish that all unnecessary categories in running are scrapped and focus be given to the fast runners if becoming the best in anything we do is a virtue to be instilled in the society rather than finding ways to capture attention.