Last weekend was a huge weekend for the long-distance running world. The Chicago Marathon was held on Sunday, October 13, where a new marathon world record was set by the women’s winner of the race. The women’s winning time of 2:14:04 dismantled a 16-year-old record by 81 seconds. Absolutely incredible!

In addition to the excitement in Chicago, the day before, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a special event held in Vienna, Austria. The goal of this event was to break, what was previously thought to be unbreakable, the two-hour marathon barrier. Meaning, covering 26.2 miles in less than two hours.

If this sounds slightly familiar, that’s because there had been another attempt made at this in 2017. Nike’s Breaking2 Project, where Kipchoge was also one of the runners, attempted to create a setting where a distance runner could run 1:59:59 or faster. In that attempt, Kipchoge fell just 26 seconds short of the goal.

This year’s attempt, dubbed the INEOS 1:59 Challenge, featured just Kipchoge running on a closed course with multiple pacers, a pace car, and assistance for nutrition during the attempt. At the end of the event, Kipchoge crossed the finish line at 1:59:40.2, officially breaking the 26.2-mile two-hour barrier.

While this feat won’t be counted as a marathon world record for a number of reasons, it will go down in the history books and the Guinness Book of World Records for a male covering 26.2 miles in less than two hours. But if history tells us anything about feats such as these, once the door is opened, it inspires people to get better and make these kinds of attempts themselves. I think it’s only a matter of time before the two-hour barrier in the marathon is broken in an actual marathon race.

In financial services, there have been plenty of watershed moments that opened doors for banks and credit unions and our customers. Thinking all the way back to the introduction of ATMs, online banking, mobile banking, biometric logins…the list goes on and on. All of these innovations have pushed our industry to become better at what we do and provide more service, convenience, and easier access to what was previously inaccessible.

Right now, at your very bank or credit union, you are likely working on projects that continue to push this kind of innovation. Simply put, we’re all working on that next 1:59:40 moment that is going to drive your organization and make us more successful in the future. To be able to make finances better and simpler for consumers.

At times, finding success as community financial institutions can be daunting. Matching our brands up against the gigantic national banks is no picnic. Finding ways to differentiate ourselves from even smaller rivals is difficult. However, with adversity also comes inspiration. There comes the 1:59:40 moment.

Keep knocking on the doors. Keep seeking that watershed moment. Keep innovating. Cheers!