BOSTON — Geoffrey Mutai’s time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds in last week’s Boston Marathon does not qualify for the world record, race officials conceded on Wednesday even as they sought to develop new rules that would better account for the difficulty of the hilly course.
“We understand and appreciate the role of the IAAF in maintaining standards that were established to protect the integrity of the sport,” Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk said. “We all know that we witnessed one of the great days in running history at the 2011 Boston Marathon. … We will celebrate all of that for a long time to come.”
Mutai won the 115th edition of the Boston race on April 18 with a substantial tailwind, and Moses Mosop was four seconds behind as both shattered Haile Gebrselassie’s world record of 2:03:59. Ryan Hall’s time of 2:04:58 was the fastest ever for an American.
But IAAF and USA Track and Field rules say the Boston course is ineligible for world or American records because it is too straight and too downhill.
Grilk had said he would apply to have the records certified anyway, which would have forced the governing bodies to reject an unprecedented performance on the world’s signature marathon course. But after meeting with an IAAF official, who was not identified in the B.A.A. announcement, race officials decided not to file the paperwork.
Instead, the B.A.A. said, it will ask scientists and medical experts in Boston for help in determining whether other characteristics of the traditional 26.2-mile course from Hopkinton to Copley Square might mitigate the course’s point-to-point layout and elevation drop “may be mitigated by other factors that might permit the Boston course to be ratified for world record consideration.”
The goal of the IAAF rules is to discourage “tricked-up” courses that are designed to create artificially fast times by taking advantage of a tailwind or a drop in elevation. Boston has a net elevation drop of 459 feet, about three times that permitted by the IAAF, though there are several grueling uphill portions that have traditionally led to slow times and a reputation as a difficult course.