Historical perspective and prediction circa 2005:
IN MARATHONING, IT HAS A FOOTHOLD ; HISTORY MEANS BOSTON CAN GIVE ANY RACE IN THE WORLD A RUN FOR ITS MONEY; [THIRD Edition]
John Powers, Globe Staff. Boston Globe. Boston, Mass.: Apr 10, 2005. pg. F.1
Quite a challenge
For the past two decades, Boston's modus operandi has been to assemble a deep field with several top names that produces a fine tactical race and enough prize money ($485,000 this year, with $100,000 apiece to the victors) to make it worth crossing an ocean. "It's not about setting a world record," says Morse. "The course won't allow it."
There hasn't been a men's global mark set here since 1947 (Yun Bok Suh) or a women's since 1983 (Joan Benoit). The course record of 2:07:15 set by Cosmas Ndeti in 1994 ranks only 59th on the all-time list. Unless they bulldoze the Newton hills, there won't be another world record in Boston, which marathon traditionalists say is just as well.
"All the marathons now want to be faster and flatter," muses Ken Young, a founding member of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians. "To me, that loses the essence of running, which is head-to-head racing."
Boston's undulant topography and unpredictable weather ("It's like Forrest Gump and the box of chocolates," says McGillivray. "You never know what you're going to get.") make for a unique challenge. "I don't think in the world there is any course I can compare with Boston," says Ndereba, who has run London, New York, and Chicago, where she set the world record in 2001. "People kept on saying how tough the Olympic course was, but Boston is tougher."