Whom Are You Competing Against?

Today, there is the Iron Man Austria in Klagenfurt, the city I live in. On the radio, I heard the following sentence connected to this event: "They are not competing each other, everybody is fighting against himself".

That is interesting from a competition point of view! Whom are we as equestrians competing against? When I was driving to the barn, I had to cross the bike route of the Iron Men and Women. When I looked at the athletes, I saw that there were obviously Pros, having way better equipment, being in way better shape than others. Honestly, there was one guy that rather looked like the Familiy Guy than an Iron Man. So I guess these were truly competing themselves as they know per definitionem that they will never have a chance to win (the winner already finished, it took him somewhat 7 hrs, the last one will not be in the finish before midnight - just to give a range!). So why is it that WE feel that we need to prove something? That we need to compete against others? Isn't the only fair comparison the one against yourself?'

It must be a win for every one of us when we finish a test better than the day before, when in the training session we achieve something that we were not able to do a week ago. It is not about being better than your peers: they have different "material", they are in different shape, they have different training conditions. In the end of course, we are compared to them otherwise there would be no ranking. But it should not be that you train only to be better than others. Trying to be better than yourself yesterday is a battle that is tough enough.

I like the idea that there will be lots of people waiting behind the finish line for the last Iron Man or Woman to arrive. They get celebrated as well - not because they were better than other participants - but maybe last year, they did not even finish. And I will be opening my windows to hear the crowd cheer and watch the fireworks - respect for those who at least tried!

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