Friday, September 30, 2011

Let History Stand.

  In 2003, Paula Radcliffe set a new world record by running 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 25 seconds. She bested the previous women's marathon record by almost 3 minutes (2:17:42, a mark also held by Radcliffe).

  But as of January 1, 2012 Radcliffe's amazing performance will no longer count as the world record. Why, you ask? You see, Radcliffe ran with male pacesetters that day in 2003. WHAT?!?!

  On Thursday, the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) handed down a rule change that dis-allows Radcliffe's run ONLY because she ran with men. The women's world record can only occur when there are ONLY women competing in the race. Now, a majority of the road races worldwide are ineligible to have the world record because they're co-ed races (Boston, London and New York Marathons, etc).

  When I heard they were taking away the world record label from Radcliffe's run, I immediately took offense. The rule is ASSUMING (you know what happens when we assume!) that women cannot run as fast when running only with other women. That they have to have men present to push the pace, and thus quicken their times.

  Whether that is true or not, Paula Radcliffe ran those 26.2 miles on her own. No one else made her legs turn over that fast. No one else mentally fought through the pain of running sub-5 minute miles for 26 consecutive miles.  No one else pushed through the exhausting training sessions that are necessary to accomplish what she did.

  Sure, Radcliffe still owns the women's world record time. No harm done, right? But track & field and marathon running are sports of mere seconds. Taking away that time is taking away a huge accomplishment from Radcliffe. She had the perfect conditions to run in, she was in tip-top shape, who's to say she wouldn't have run the same pace (or close) that day even without men present?

  Though it's unlikely (because she is now 8 years older), I for one, hope Radcliffe somehow could prove the IAAF wrong and record that mark again. Or, let the IAAF see that a record is a record. She ran that race, let her incredible mark stand.

  Just wanted to share this story with you all today. I know marathon running doesn't exactly get the same pub as other sports, but this one deserves a little bit more attention in my opinion!! Hope your Friday is a good one!