September 30, 2011

Setting the Records Straight

Two big things occurred in the world of running this past week that are worth taking note of. First, Patrick Makau, of Kenya, set a new marathon world record with a time of 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon last Sunday. Makau bested the former world record, set by legend Haile Gebrselassie at the 2008 Berlin Marathon, by 21 seconds. Just to give you some insight, that's a 4:42 pace for a marathon!! Many are now speculating just how fast a marathon can be run as boundaries continue to be pushed. Will we one day see a sub-2 hour marathon? I can't really wrap my head around running these paces for even 100m let alone a marathon, but Makau's performance has proved it can be done. Nothing less than incredible if you ask me!

Second, and a good deal less exciting, is the announcement from the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) of a rule change affecting the women's world record for the marathon. According to the IAAF, an official world record must be set in an all-women's race, with no men acting as pacers. This effectively strips Paula Radcliffe of her record time of 2:15:25, set at the 2003 London Marathon, as well as Deena Kastor's national record of 2:19:36. Instead, they are changing the terminology and referring to them simply as world's best. Not only is this a slap in the face to both of these incredible runners, but what does it say about women in general? That we can only run fast with the aid of men? At the end of the day, they both still ran those times. None of the men threw them over their shoulders and got them there with anything besides their own talent and drive. The IAAF claims the change was to prevent the unfair advantage of having faster males as pacers (although with no clarification as to over whom). Perhaps the real reason behind the rule change? Women are just getting too good ; )


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