Lane 8 In Houston, Texas

Lane 8 is the worst lane in Track & Field, no matter what track, even in the Olympic games. The slowest competitor is assigned to Lane 8.

It's The Worst Lane, No Matter Which Track
It's The Worst Lane, No Matter Which Track

Rice University’s track, in Houston, Texas, was three blocks from my hotel.

Rice University, Houston
Rice University, Houston

Do you have the ability to find a never-ending source of inspiration? If you don’t, why? If you do, how?

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.


  1. Jeff, I know you know the answer to this one…let see if anyone else does.

    What do you call the person running or swimming in lane 8 in the finals?

  2. OK everyone, don’t all answer at once.

    You call that person a finalist which means they’ve earned the privilege of competing for the championship.

    That’s pretty cool in and of itself. You may not win the title but you have earned the distinction of having a chance.

    Does anyone know of anyone winning the finals from Lane 8?

    It may not happen everyday, or often, or frequently, or even occassionally…but it has happened and will happen again.

    Give it all you’ve got, leave it all on track, or field, or pool, and keep the faith.

  3. Skip, many people struggle to keep up with reading stuff, let alone taking time for comments.

    That being said, thank you for validating the metaphor for Lane 8.

    Is there a Janet Evans story associated with this? 🙂

  4. As you may or may not know Janet Evans was a distance swimmer who held the world record as at 16….too young to understand what it meant to be a champion.

    She swam in four Olympics.

    She told me it wasn’t until she lost that she understood what it meant to be a champion.

    She explained she put more time, effort, and commitment into her losing effort than any of her winning efforts.

    She was disappointed with the loss but proud of her efforts.

    Win or lose, she is a champion.

  5. I finally had my Lane 8 experience last Saturday.

    As you know, and I’ve shared with many others, I ran my first 5K in a very long time. Sunday afternoon, I saw the race results online. Because I registered to be timed, I saw my name online in the race results. I finished 242nd out of 252 timed runners.

    I finished the race. I would have been equally happy if I finished 252 out of 252. Seeing it in print gave it a deeper meaning . . . at least for me. And it gave me inspiration to find the next race.

  6. Skip and David, Lane 8 is one of the metaphors I use to teach Chapin about life. There is power in a real story. So much more than just telling people the facts or the key messages.

    When we do it through story (parables of real life), it reaches the depth’s of our soul and inspires us to overcome whatever obstacles are before us.

  7. Skip, I’m jumping back up to your comment about Janet Evans. What a powerful example. And it’s as if I had to wait (since August 4, 2009) until you shared today, to come face to face with a blinding flash of the obvious.

    When I ran at the 2009 Worlds, the time was the slowest, and my finish the “worst” in any race I ever ran.

    The fact that I was even there was a major miracle. I was so determined to compete, for the 50th birthday milestone, that the effort to overcome a severe injury was the hardest I’d ever worked.

    And in spite of the obstacles, finished 43 out of 61 of the World’s best 50-54 400 meter runners.

    What seemed embarrassing for the past 14 months, now has renewed meaning, thanks to you sharing your personal story of talking to Janet Evans.

    And David, 242 out of 252. Gold medal. The miracle isn’t that you finished, it’s that you started and didn’t quit.

  8. Jeff,

    With over 6 billion people in the world, it is safe to say that there are several hundred million in the 50-54 age range. Finishing 43rd statistically puts you into a category that inspires the rest of us.

    Skip, thanks for the inspiring story too!

  9. Guy, I’m feeling a blog post comin’ on.
    What is really missing in this whole Lane 8 equation is that I was not an excellent 400 runner. I was above average, for a small high school.
    But open it up to the world and the distance between above average and world class is about the distance between Orlando and Paris. Enormous.
    The only thing that make what happened possible was a purpose, a deadline and an indomitable will.

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