814Just for the record

Just for the record

Our ed Danny Coyle joins in the marathon world record mass debate
Boston Marathon
Not that I'm ever going to threaten the pages of marathon history, but isn't it about time this marathon world record business was cleared up once and for all? After the Boston Marathon the Twittersphere was a maelstrom of confusion following Geoffrey Mutai's victory. The clock stopped at 2:03:02, some 57 seconds quicker than Haile Gebrselassie's previous world best set in Berlin in 2008. But no sooner was it being hailed as a new world record than it was dismissed as ineligible. The course was too downhill, the route was too straight, the tailwind was too strong, the winner's nan crippled the second place runner with her walking stick, the moon was out of kilter with the stars. There were more doubts about the time than a dodgy government dossier. I made those last two up, but no matter, the IAAF will not class his time as a new world record.Their argument is valid, but it made me long for a time when all it took was Norris McWhirter and his stopwatch to ratify a world record while Roy Castle blew his trumpet and Cheryl Baker squeaked into the camera wearing a brightly-coloured jumper.Boston Marathon 2Poor old Geoff had just covered 26.2 miles faster than anyone. Ever. Fact. He is, therefore, the fastest marathon runner of all time. Granted, if all of London's course was a steep downhill gradient and it had been a cool 10ºC and blowing a gale at my back on Sunday, I'd probably have run a lot faster, but if you'd tried to take my time off me I'd have poked you in the eye.Elite runners by nature are competitive beasts. You’re not telling me the next time Gebrselassie or Martin Lel or Robert Cheruiyot set foot on the start line of a marathon they will have no regard for Mutai’s new mark. If conditions are right, whichever course they are running, they will have that time in their crosshairs.So to blazes with the record books, a man called Geoffrey is the fastest marathon runner in history, and there are only two words he needs to answer the doubters.Beat that.

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