The question is simple, was Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai’s 2:03:02 not just the fastest time ever run over 26.2 miles of roadway, but, in fact, a marathon world record? The general consensus is NO, Boston was wind-aided on April 18th with a steady 15-20 mph push the entire way. Add in the net elevation drop of 459 feet from Hopkinton to Boston, and the combination makes the venerable old course ineligible for record recognition.
Academically, I agree. I called the race for WBZ-TV in Boston, and have covered every Boston since 1977. I believe the tail wind last Monday was worth two minutes overall. It was like swimming down current; the same physical effort created faster overall speeds. We have seen similar results in other notoriously windy Boston Marathon days in 1975, 1983, and 1994. But if Boston 2011 was aided, then so, too, is every year’s Berlin, Chicago, London, and Rotterdam, the creme of the “legal” courses on which records traditionally have been set. (more…)