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The All-Time Record

by Bertil Falk

It all began in 1912, when the American Donald Lippincott ran 100 meters at the Stockholm Olympics. On June 21, A.D. 1960, a West German, Armin Hary, set a new world record with 10 seconds flat while running 100 meters in Zürich, Switzerland. With that he reached a long-coveted goal: on average, it took him one single second to run ten meters.

That was long ago in the 20th century. Anyway, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Jamaican Usain Bolt lowered the record, to 9.58 seconds in Berlin, Germany on August 16, A.D. 2009.

In those ancient days, it was prohibited to use drugs to improve the results. But holes were knocked in the arguments against drugs and other prohibited means. It was argued that either all means to improve results should be prohibited or else all means should be permitted.

The idea that practising, dieting, body trimming, yes, even coaching was equivalent to the use of drugs hit the sports world with an enormous impact. After years of debates, discussions and deliberations, the genie was released from the bottle. In A.D. 2457 anything and everything was permitted.

The result was much better results. World records were set in all known branches of athletics and in some hitherto unknown. Using never before thought-of methods and means, the world record for the 100 meters was down to 0.05 seconds and the new goal that Irving Highspeed and other runners dreamed of was 0.00 seconds.

“That would be the same as teleportation,” Sudden Nightmare said to Irving Highspeed. She shrugged her transparent shoulders at him and stroked his bald-headedness, where the latest news flashed in and out mixed with infomercials.

“Not the same as, but akin to,” Irving replied, flexing his enormous calf muscles. “For sure it would mean that I could reach the goal at the same moment I started. The difference is that I would actually cover the 100 meters.”

“What?” Sudden asked.

“When it comes to teleportation, one moves from one spot to another not only without any waste of time but also without covering the distance at all, whether it is 100 meters or 100 light-years,” Irving explained.

“What then?” Sudden said. “If you succeed, you have reached the limit.”

“The limit when it comes to 100 meters, perhaps. But the same goal applies to 200 meters, 1500 meters, 5,000 meters. And many runners will be happy if they can do 100 meters in 0 seconds.

“As far as I am concerned, if I could beat the 100-meters record in such a way, I would turn to 200 meters and concentrate at getting that record down to 0 seconds. However, don’t blink when I run. You could miss it all.”

“There’s always the replays.”

The running track was a beautiful sight. It floated in space, a diaphanous stretch of brownish-red, artificial cinder. The climatic conditions affecting the sprint races in the past were eliminated. No strong headwinds or other weather conditions affected the results. No tailwinds assisted the runners.

Since no air existed on the cinder track, air resistance was no longer a stumbling block. The runners were supplied with an air replacement called Surrogat, an Ersatz-gadget they put in their mouths. Physical problems like leg cramps had been successfully eliminated by the medical world. And then there was all the digital equipment of different kinds that enhanced the natural ability of the runners.

The traditional way of starting the sprint race using a starting pistol was in place. The disadvantage caused by the slow speed of sound had been removed long ago. The sound reached all the participants at exactly the same moment. The old-fashioned way of starting was obsolete but kept for the sake of tradition. And it had a certain effect on the viewers.

And now the runners lined up side by side and the restrained excitement of expectations lingered across the firmaments.

“On your marks!” the starter ordered.

Sudden Nightmare kept her fingers crossed.

“Get set!” the starter commanded.

Irving Highspeed and his competitors went in set position.

It was at that critical moment that the unexpected happened.

Irving Highspeed breasted the tape.

And a fraction of a second later: The starter fired his gun.

The heat was on its way with Irving Highspeed going ahead.

Sighs of surprise swept along the universe as viewers all over the places tried to believe their eyes. Just before the starter fired his gun, Irving Highspeed breasted the tape at the end of the 100-meter long track. And he was at the same time still in position in his starting blocks, only to disappear when the pistol was fired.

For the first time ever, a hundred-meters runner had covered the distance at the incredible speed of minus 0.03 seconds. Even before he started running, Irving Highspeed not only reached but went beyond his objective... no, he actually surpassed his goal.

The tapes of the event were run over and over again all over the cosmos and everyone could see for themselves that Irving Highspeed had not started for at least a fraction of a second after he arrived at the end of the distance.

The undreamed-of universal record could be seen from thousands of angles, from underneath, from above, from the front, from behind.

Irving Highspeed slowed down, running his lap of honor at a speed that made him visible to the cheering spectators looking at him from all the nooks and corners of the universe.

In the interview he expressed his joy, gasping from the exertion. “I knew... it, for I... had done it... during training... but I didn’t... dare say... it in public... my coach... and I... kept it... to ourselves.”

“And what now? Will you try to better this exceptional record?”

“No, as I told... my girlfriend... before the race... I would like... to run... 200 meters... in no time at all.”

He paused.

“Or faster. However, I can tell you one thing.” He took a deep breath. “The sensation of running ahead of myself is enormous,” he said slowly. “It gives me a kick like nothing else. Maybe this is something to try to obtain even beyond seeking perfection in running. The sense of pleasure is in itself a worthy goal. I guess that this is comparable to heavenly bliss.”

“Thank you, Irving. Well, that is what the holder of the new incredible world record, Irving Highspeed, says after this unbelievable, outstanding feat that takes sports to new heights. In the future, nothing will be as it has been in the past, a past that ended less than ten minutes ago.”

Copyright © 2010 by Bertil Falk

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