Friday, April 22, 2011

Tom Ratcliffe Weighs In On Fast Times at Boston Marathon

In the wake of Monday’s monumental Boston Marathon, where Geoffrey Mutai posted the fastest marathon performance in history, there was something of a furor over whether the mark — coming, as it did, on a course that has yielded historically middle-of-the-road times, among the major marathons — should be ratified as the world record. Boston, as a point-to-point course with a (minor) elevation loss, has always been considered ineligible for record-setting purposes. But as the race host, the BAA, applies for ratification and running fans debate back and forth, KIMbia Athletics director took to a public forum to shine some light back on the Boston Champion himself, writing in to the Boston Globe:

In my opinion, this whole argument takes away from a great performance. Monday’s marathon was one of the greatest races in the history of the sport, a fact that will live long beyond the temporary acclaim of any record. Regardless of the ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations, Mutai’s splendid race will live on as an unquestionably astounding performance.

When our own Timothy Cherigat won Boston in 2004, with a time that was considered somewhat slow for such a competitive event, 2:10:37, there was some grumbling that his win was somehow less impressive.  But as Tim has pointed out, fast race or slow, one must to be ready on that day, to rise to a great challenge to win. Mutai was certainly ready on Monday, and there’s something elegant and beautiful in the fact that winning Boston continues to mean something great, whatever the time.

Finally, let’s not forget that Mutai had to turn away a historic performance from Moses Mosop to win. To paraphrase Tim — with apologies to the NBA — “There can only be one.”

You can read the full text of Tom’s letter at, linked here. Top photo via flickr user mgstanton.

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