In the words of Kanye West: I did it for the GLORY

On the most recent episode of Peaked Too Early we interviewed Joe Niemiec. Joe qualified for the Olympic trials with a 2:17 at the Houston Marathon just last month. Joe told us that it has been a goal of his to qualify for this race for 5 years. He has rearranged his career and his life to pursue this goal. Joe is a rising star in the sport and definitely a P2E favorite.

On Saturday February 29th Joe will be lining up alongside hundreds of other runners that baring some sort of 1980 miracle on-ice upset, realistically don’t have much chance to make the Olympics team. If that’s the case, why have all these athletes dedicated years of their life trying to qualify for this race?

Listen to this week’s pod to hear P2E break down the feud

One of my favorite runners of all time is Brian Sell. Sell ran for the 2008 Olympic team. He finished 3rd in the trials behind Ryan Hall and Dathan Ritzenhein. Hall was the US record holder in the half marathon and what looked like our best shot at a medal. Ritz was a former cross country national champion and an Olympian in 2004. Going into this race it looked like the first 2 spots were already locked up and it would essentially be a race for the 3rd spot on the team. Brian Sell became a cult hero with his Fu Manchu mustache and stories of how he was a Home Depot employee by day and Olympic hopeful by night. He is living proof that anything can happen at the Trials.

SAV of the 20th Century: Brian Sell

I understand that the chance of a Sell-like storybook ending are slim and even if you did qualify for the Olympics it’s not like you can make an entire career of one race. So, the answer to the question “why would someone dedicate their lives to qualifying for the trials” is simple. It’s for the pursuit of forever leaving their mark on this sport. When you cross the finish line with a time that you are proud of, that time is forever cemented in the history of this sport. It represents all the hard work, pain, and suffering that you went through to get there. Just look at the picture of our friend Joe crossing the Finish Line in Houston.

When you look at this picture you see a man that just justified 5 years of tireless work. You see a man overcoming self-doubt, silencing the haters, and creating a legacy. There is no amount of money in the world that can buy this kind of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. For this reason, I believe the Marathon Olympic Trials is one of the greatest races in the world. This race represents a blue-collar work ethic and dedication to something bigger than yourself.

Kanye West’s song The Glory is all about how the fame, fortune, and everything else that comes along with being a rapper is great but it’s not why he did it. His hustle was all about his legacy. So, when someone asks why you do this sport? Why you spend countless hours training? Why you make sacrifices that on paper seem crazy? You should quote Kanye West and tell them that you did it for THE GLORY. Do yourself a favor and add this song to your running playlist and I’ll see you at the trials.

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