Wednesday, September 21

Radcliffe record changed

About two weeks ago I wrote about sexist new rules approved by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF). The new rules only allow women's running world records to "count" if they are run in women-only races. The only question remaining at that time was whether or not the rules would be retroactive.

That decision has now been made, and, indeed, the rules are going to be applied retroactively. According to today's report on ESPN:
For full story, see
"Under new rules passed by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Radcliffe's 2003 mark of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds is no longer valid as a world record because it was run in a mixed environment. 
The new rules, designed to discourage male pacemakers from helping women to achieve quicker times, means that Radcliffe's mark, set at the 2003 London Marathon is no longer a women's world record, but a world best. Her 2005 London time of 2:17:42 has been upgraded to the world record."
And just to prove how controversial this ruling is, two major world marathon organizations, World Major Marathons (WMM) and the Association of International Marathons (AIMS), threw their combined weight against the ruling, stating in a joint letter:
"The Boards of both WMM and AIMS have reviewed the recent Congress decision and believe that it does not represent what is required by the sport of road running...They further believe that there should be two world records for women's road running performances, separately recognising those achieved in mixed competition and women's only conditions...AIMS and WMM will continue to acknowledge both types of performances as world records and will discuss this matter further with the IAAF, recognising that the vast majority of women's road races throughout the world are held in mixed conditions..."
And perhaps the most telling line from the letter:
"The current situation where the fastest time is not now recognised as a record is confusing and unfair and does not respect the history of our sport."
But unless the ruling is overturned, the women's fastest marathon time drops back to Radcliffe's 2:17 (in 2005), not her much faster 2:15 (in 2003).


  1. Great post, stupid rule. It's outrageous that IAAF has made this decision, and it's a clear setback to women's running and sexism in sports.

    With these rules, doesn't it seem there should be a change in how we approach U.S. records? Do we have to judge those where only Americans run? Do they have to be born here or can they be naturalized citizens?

    Invalidating Radcliffe's fast marathon time as the official world record smacks of lunacy.

  2. It's total bullshit sexism. They're just afraid because women are getting too close? I just don't understand the logic. Regardless of the gender of her competition, she still ran the race.


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