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Toughest Challenges in Sports

Yesterday afternoon, Geoffrey Mutai won the Boston Mararthon. Photo courtesy of iaaf.org

Yesterday afternoon, Kenya native Geoffrey Mutai kinda sorta set a new record when he won the Boston Marathon.

While his time of 2 hours, 7 minutes and 1 second would have been good enough for the new record, the Boston Marathon is not recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) as an official marathon.

Long story short, what Mutai accomplished yesterday was nothing short of remarkable, which got me thinking: What is the most difficult task in sports?

Here are five of the toughest challenges in sports.

1. Hitting a baseball. A typical major league pitcher can fire a pitch in at 94 miles per hour. That doesn’t give the batter much time to react and put forth a decent swing, let alone make contact.

2. Sinking a hole in one. A lot of golfers, both professional and amatuer, have accomplished this feat. Still, a good amount of skill and a touch of luck are needed to mark an ace in the scorecard.

3. Stopping a soccer ball from entering the net. Unlike hockey, where the goal is much smaller and the goalie’s padding much thicker, in soccer things are much more magnified. One wrong move, or muscle twitch, and the opposing player has a goal.

4. Pole vaulting. The pole vaulters at Hellgate High make it look easy, but don’t be fooled. A good vaulter needs speed for the approach, upper body strength for the lift, and flexibility for clearing the bar.

5. Running a marathon. A marathon covers 26.2 miles. Not only does a marathon require toughness physically, but emotionally as well.

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