I was looking at all the marathon world records that there are, like fastest marathon dressed as an insect, dressed as a foot, as a nut, as a doctor or even fastest marathon while flipping pancakes or on crutches.
Then I looked at some records involving heart patients, like youngest open heart surgery or oldest surviving heart transplant ect. And I realised there was no record for fastest marathon by a heart patient. And I’m running my first marathon in Berlin this year….
So I decided to enter fastest marathon by a heart patient (female) as a category. Not because I think I’m the fastest heart patient there will ever be, I know I’m slow, but that’s because I’m a heart patient. It’s not that I think no one would be able to beat me, I’m sure someone would after a month or so, but I’m ok with that. I can’t even come close to any of these “dressed up as X” records, because I can’t run that fast. Well, maybe I could, but I can’t continuously run. I have to walk half the time to get my heart rate down and there is nothing I can do to change that. Well, ok, maybe heart surgery, but that seems a bit drastic and in my case there is no guarantee that it might actually help. So, no thanks, I’ll pass on the open heart surgery for now. My quality of life is far too good to make that worthwhile right now.
So, I entered the category for approval and the first thing they asked was: why would this be a record? Why would this be different for you than for any other runner? Well, because my heart doesn’t work the way it should. Running is a lot harder on my body than it is for someone who’s heart is working like it should. Plus, they allow people on crutches to do a marathon as a record and clearly they don’t wonder why that is different than anybody else.
- There are a few criteria when it comes to world records, which is fair. It has to be measurable. Well, a marathon is measurable in distance and time, so, check.
- It has to be breakable, someone else needs to be able to repeat it. There are marathon races all over the planet, so that should not be a problem. Now, I’m not suggesting that all heart patient should go run a marathon right now. But I’m sure the Guinness World Record organisation is also not suggesting everyone should go get a heart transplant right now and hope you’ll live long enough to make the oldest surviving heart transplant record. But yes, I’m sure there will be another heart patient out there that might be able to break that record, no doubt about that.
- Has to be standardisable. It cannot be too regional or too restricted. Well, technically all marathons and all heart patient qualify (although, again, I’m not saying everyone should run a marathon, I’m just saying it’s possible)
- Verifiable. Well, a marathon is easy to verify these days. And that doesn’t seem to be a problem for all these other marathon records. And I’m sure I can get a doctors note stating that my heart doesn’t work the way it should.
- One variable. In this case fastest. The heart patient part you can check up front.
- Universal. Can’t be too local or to obscure. Well, it’s a marathon, so that seems universal enough to me.
So in my eyes I ticked all the boxes and they only just had to approve it as a formality. I mean, if dressing as a foot or nut qualifies, than why wouldn’t I? But they didn’t approve. They rejected the application, because they thought it wasn’t standardisable. But why not? You either have a heart that works the way it should or it doesn’t work the way it should. It’s a yes or no question. And a doctors note cannot the the issue here, because I doubt there was a judge present when they were doing open heart surgery. I suspect that it’s because it’s not visible enough, but then there also is a record for lowest heart rate (Another one I’ll never be able to achieve. And if you’re wondering: the record is 27 bpm), and that also doesn’t seem very visible to me. I can’t just look at someone and think “well, that person has a really low heart rate”. And I doubt the whole world was there to watch it.
No, it would not be the most spectacular world record ever, but I wanted it for the same reason anyone else wants a world records: for the fun of it and for the recognition. I don’t really see any clear reason why fastest marathon by a heart patient cannot be a world record. Thus, I find it a bit unfair that they’ve rejected the application. That’s all.