Paula Radcliffe gets to keep her 2003 world record!
Runners worldwide expressed their disgust at the IAAF ruling that women's marathon records would only count in women-only races. That raised a few eyebrows, to say the least. (Ok. It elicited a string of cuss words from this blogger much like those generated when I dislocated my finger playing football with Hubby...)
retroactive, stripping Paula Radcliffe of her 2003 world record for a 2:15:25 finish at the London Marathon. There was outrage in the running community. Nike even got in on the protest.
For those of you new to this story, the backlash centers around the fact that the ruling didn't outlaw pace-setters overall, just a particular woman-running-with-man combination. For example, Patrick Makau's blistering 2:03:28 new world record, set in Berlin earlier this year, involved not one but SIX pace-setters to help him to his goal. From the NY Times story:
In the Berlin men’s race, six pacemakers formed a V-shaped formation, leading a pack of five elite runners as if they were migrating geese. They stayed on record pace the entire race, with the lead group going through halfway in 1:01:43.But in Makau's case, the pacers were men running with men, so according to the IAAF, that still counts toward world record status. When it was a male pacer running with Radcliffe, that violated some girls and boys can't play together rule.
But, to give (some) credit...
The IAAF listened.
According to news from the Associated Press, Paula Radcliffe gets to keep her 2003 world record.
The IAAF is now trying to figure out exactly how to set the standard for future world records.
What do you think about the initial rule and the changes?
Photo courtesy of Nationaal Archief (with edits made by yours truly)