BAA Concedes: Historic Boston Course is Not World Record Eligible

by: BAA Press Release
April 27, 2011

BOSTON, MA – In an effort to follow up immediately on the matter, the B.A.A. has now had the opportunity to review with the IAAF the performance of Geoffrey Mutai in the 2011 Boston Marathon, in which Mr. Mutai’s time of 2:03:02 was the fastest ever recorded over the marathon distance. Mr. Mutai’s performance is not eligible to be recognized as a world record under IAAF standards due to the point to point nature of the Boston course and the fact that there is a net loss in elevation over the Boston course that exceeds IAAF limits. IAAF standards in this regard were established in 1990

The IAAF official with whom the matter was reviewed expressed the IAAF’s high regard for Mr. Mutai’s performance. He also noted more broadly the spectacular nature of what occurred in the 2011 Boston Marathon, both from the men and in the women’s Open Division, where the repeated surges and lead changes between Caroline Kilel and Desiree Davila produced one of the most exciting and competitive finishes in marathon history.

“The IAAF has acted very promptly in working with us to achieve full clarity here. We understand and appreciate the role of the IAAF in maintaining standards that were established to protect the integrity of the sport,” said B.A.A. Executive Director Tom Grilk. “We all know that we witnessed one of the great days in running history at the 2011 Boston Marathon, with all-time fastest performances in several categories and emotional triumphs by Japanese wheelchair athletes that surely provided an emotional lift to their countrymen and women who continue to work to recover from the disaster that struck Japan in March. We will celebrate all of that for a long time to come.”

John Hancock Financial Services, primary sponsor of the Boston Marathon, rewarded Geoffrey Mutai with a $50,000 bonus for running a world’s best time at this year’s race and said the company will meet this promise in the future as well. 

“When you run Boston and you run faster than any man or woman has ever run a marathon, you truly are in a league of your own,” said Jim Gallagher, Executive Vice President, John Hancock. “John Hancock recognizes this and will proudly continue to reward greatness.”

Going forward, the B.A.A. will engage members of Boston’s scientific and medical communities to determine whether factors can now be identified that would support a further discussion as to whether the point to point nature and elevation drop in the Boston course may be mitigated by other factors that might permit the Boston course to be ratified for world record consideration.

Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.'s Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial. The Boston Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors along with the Virgin London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and the ING New York City Marathon.



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