Marathon record is taken away but sensational just the same.
When is a marathon record not really a record? There is a lot of gray area, but it’s hard to dispute the winner’s blistering finish time in this years Boston Marathon.
Maybe it’s the three-a-day training, or genetics, or Ugali-their favorite power food. Maybe it’s the dedication or the bottomless pit of endurance or the will to win.
Whatever it is, those Kenyans sure can run.
In the just completed 2011 Boston Marathon Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai finished the race in a mind-numbing 2:03:02!
Wow! The fastest marathon ever run in history.
THE FIVE MINUTE MILE
Have you ever run a five-minute mile? Years ago I ran one just once in a 10k race. It was my first 10k ever and I didn’t know anything about running and just went out as fast as I could when the gun went off.
The official “first mile” time that was shouted out was about 5 seconds under 5 minutes.
I hit that freaking invisible wall so hard at about the 4-mile mark, that I’m sure a farmer working in his field 10 miles away heard the impact. It was the first and last sub five minute mile I would ever run in my life.
Now imagine running 26 five-minute-miles back-to-back.
That would be pretty good but that wouldn’t have even resulted in a top five finish in Boston.
Geoffrey averaged well under a five-minute mile and so did 3 or four others who followed him in.
WORLD RECORD TAKEN AWAY
It doesn’t seem to matter that the Boston Marathon course is well known as one of the most difficult courses in the world.
Don’t ask me how they figured this out, but the record was denied because of the elevation drop of the course.
The powers that be have decided in their infinite wisdom that courses must drop less than 1 meter per kilometer in order to meet the standard.
So if you do the math, that’s about 137 feet. The Boston course drops about 460 feet. The race begins at 474 feet above sea level and the finish line is at about 15 feet.
With that ruling, the marathon Haile Gebrselassie ran in 2:03:59 in Berlin is deemed to be the official world record.
Maybe that’s true in some quarters, but say what they like, until someone runs faster, Geoffrey’s time will forever be the world record in the mind and heart of this 30+time marathoner and 14-time Ironman.
To say differently is bull crap in my mind. If you have been out there yourself bashing your way through the wall at 21 miles on some marathon course, you know just how difficult it is to maintain “any” steady pace for 26.2 miles.
Wind or no wind, hill or no hill, the world record belongs to Geoffrey until someone crosses the finish line in a faster time.
The brilliant U.S. marathoner Bill Rodgers won the Boston Marathon 4 times. He claimed that he won those races on the downhill because he ran downhill extremely fast compared to other top marathoners of the day.
There is nothing easy about running downhill. It is not an advantage for everyone. It is tremendously hard on the quad muscles. Your stride gets all screwed up and many marathoners end up with some sort of “braking” action to their stride when they run downhill.
To say that a world record should hinge on uphills or downhills simply make no sense.
EVERY MARATHON COURSE IS DIFFERENT
Every marathon course is different so how can you possibly say that just those that meet certain idiotic standards are “fair” courses capable of having a world marathon record?
There are so many factors on marathon race-day that it’s pretty much impossible to have a set standard. Wind, rain, hail and God knows what else can all have a bearing on a marathon.
Whether you run in the rain, the heat, uphill, or downhill, the ticking clock is the only consistent factor in every sanctioned Marathon that takes place anywhere in the world.
If you can run the marathon distance faster than anyone else in world record on a certified 26.2 mile course then the marathon record should belong to you.
It may not be recognized by a few governing officials, but I’m sure Geoffrey will be considered the world record holder in the minds of many runners who know better.
That’s what really matters.
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