Does anyone find it just a little ironic that the Boston Marathon – with it’s rigid to-the-second qualifying standards and reputation as the Big Enchilada of all marathons drawing world class competitors from around the globe (i.e. Kenya) – cannot ratify a time set on its own course as a world record?? It has too much of a net downhill and there may be a tailwind. USA Track and Field told Reuters: “Boston marathon performances cannot be ratified as world records as the course does not satisfy two of the criteria for world records.” I wonder if one of the requirements is: Cannot be set on the world’s most famous marathon course.
I just assumed that Boston, with its reputation as a challenging course and the standard-bearer for certification at courses around the country, would be World Record Qualified (WRQ). I’m sure this is no surprise to many of you but, frankly, this is news to me. (Also, we landed on the moon!)
Why am I pointing this out? Unless you live in a cave (i.e. Ohio), you know that Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai pranced to the finish Monday in 2:03:02 destroying the official world record by 57 seconds (2:03:59, Berlin, 2008). He had time to re-tie a shoelace on Boylston St., if need be. Or lie down on a plush leopard rug right before crossing the line to pose for a sexy photo. THAT’S how bad he pwned Haile Gebrselassie’s official record time. In fact, with a time like that, you have to wonder what took Haile so long.
There seems to be something terribly wrong when the premier event for a sport cannot ratify its champ for world records. What if the Super Bowl champ could not be crowned because they determined that the football used in the game was made of llama skin rather than the tastier, less-spitty cow? Congratulations, you won! Sorry, but we will not be able to confirm your victory in the record books. Wrong ball skin.* What if NASCAR decided to go the other direction at Daytona? Same distance but a bunch of right hand turns instead of left. Nope, no speed record for you. Thanks for coming out and spiking beer sales in the mid-Florida area though. Here’s your money, trophy, and giant ASTERISK to carry around. Clean up your chaw stains on the way out, please.
Is Boston just a glorified Fun Run? Here I am busting my butt trying to “BQ” when, all this time, there was no chance of me setting the world record at Boston? What was I working so hard for? I’ve been playing rope-a-dope with the top Kenyans and Ryan Hall, et al, by never posting an official marathon time better than the 3:12 range. Lying in wait - like Mutai’s pre-skinned leopard - for my chance to pounce, blowing past the field in a stunning 2:02 at a future Boston. And now what? No friggin’ record? You can shove your laurel wreath up my Johnny Kelley if you know what I mean. I’ll save my world record effort for a race that cares.
Perhaps Boston should worry less about everyone else’s BQ and more about their own WRQ. With all of the recent Boston controversy over qualifying times, I’m starting to think that Boston is like the one sober friend of the promiscuous race slut at the bar who is busy BQ blocking everyone else. Then, come to find out, she’s a MAN.
Despite the non-world record World Record, the 2011 Boston Marathon was an exciting, record-setting race. Ryan Hall, 4th overall, set a non-U.S. record U.S. record. America’s Desiree Davila finished two non-qualifying seconds behind Kenyan Caroline Kilel for the women’s title in one of the most fantastic finishes ever. And I doubt any of the competitors heard the WR-DQ sad trombone playing in the background as they held up their trophy and reviewed their race splits. Congratulations Geoffrey and Caroline! You won the world’s most famous Fun Run!!
It was only later that they got the asterisk attached to their time. And the Boston crème pie to the face.
* Is it just me or do I say this entirely too frequently in my life?
I’ve been following Thomas, from Diary of a Rubbish Marathon Runner, who achieved his goal of sub-3 hour marathon this past weekend in Vienna. Go there and read his report. It’s pretty darn good. Congratulations to Thomas!
Congratulations to Nate who bested 3 hours at Boston! Here’s his recap.
Waiting for Sean’s exciting Boston report here.
And, of course, Spike’s Boston should be rolling in soon here.