When Geoffrey Mutai crossed the finish line of the 115th Boston Marathon on Monday, it looked as if the 29-year-old Kenyan had set a world record.
Mutai finished the 26.2-mile race in two hours, three minutes and two seconds, the fastest marathon time ever. The previous record was held by Haile Gebrselassie, who ran the 2008 Berlin marathon in two hours, three minutes and 59 seconds.
But not so fast.
The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) determined shortly thereafter that Mutai’s time wasn’t considered a world record because the Boston course is ineligible to set a record. IAAF rules say that the Boston course is downhill and allows for a tailwind that wouldn’t be possible on a loop course.
Boston officials are reportedly applying to the international track governing body, though, in an effort to have Mutai’s “record” recognized as such.
In fact, the Boston Marathon is actually older than the IAAF itself.