I had a rare break from work this evening and stopped by 400meteroval to see what's happening in the world of running. It turns out, Malta has a newspaper. Yes, I know that has nothing to do with running, but it does have to with my not knowing it.
This article caught my eye because it was titled "Stop thinking small". I thought it was about track and field in general, but it was actually about track and field athletes. Even better.
Apparently, Gelindo Bordin, the 1988 gold medal winner in the marathon, was in Malta and was discussing the state of the sport in general, and Maltese athletics in particular. This one comment caught my eye:
"I think that the most difficult obstacle is your history which sets a mindset where you don't think that it is possible. The challenge is to beat that belief. I'm sure that you're still thinking small.
"If you aim for the national record in the marathon that is 2:26, then that is your limit. However, if someone convinces you that you must target a 2:11 time then you will shift focus."
I don't know much about Maltese athletes--I did read about a falcon, once--but I'm sure they are perfectly capable of running a 2:11 marathon. But convincing someone of that, when they have no frame of reference for it, is another thing.
It's often said that nothing operates in a vacuum. Well, no one succeeds in a vacuum, either. The environment in which we live affects us. If I were a Maltese coach, I'd do my best to get a couple athletes who have already run 2:11 to come train there. The quickest way to get someone to change their frame of reference is to show them day in and day out how it's done.