Haile Gebreselassie commends runners
BOSTON -- Ethiopian Haile Gebreselassie knows there is only one answer for those who doubt he still deserves to be recognized as the marathon world record-holder: Run faster.
Gebreselassie won the Berlin Marathon in 2008 in 2 hours, 3 minutes, 59 seconds -- a time still listed as the world record on the IAAF website even though Geoffrey Mutai ran 2:03:02 on Monday to win the Boston Marathon. The international governing body disqualifies the Boston course from records because it is too straight and too downhill.
Moses Mosop finished four seconds behind Mutai. Ryan Hall finished fourth in 2:04:58 but is unlikely to be recognized as the American record-holder because USA Track and Field has rules that are similar to the international governing body's.
"He respects very much the two fast times of Mutai and Mosop," Gebreselassie's manager, Jos Hermens, said in an email to The Association Press on Thursday. "It gives him great motivation to try and run faster."
The IAAF rule was designed to recognize only records set in honest competitions, ruling out courses that have been "tricked-up" to establish fast times. The Boston Marathon is 115 years old -- older than the IAAF itself -- and established to replicate the original route run by the messenger Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens.
Hermens said Gebreselassie has no strong opinions about whether Mutai's time should be recognized as the record.
"He did not make the rules but understands why they were made," Hermens said, noting that Boston has a 459-foot drop in overall elevation but also several uphill portions that give it a reputation as a challenging course. "It's not an easy course, so he respects very much the Monday performances!"
This year's Boston race took place with temperatures mostly in the low 50s and a tailwind that was announced as 21 mph at the start. Four runners broke the course record, Wakako Tsuchida set a course record in the women's wheelchair race and Desiree Davila ran the fastest Boston time ever for an American woman.
The IAAF website lists Gebreselassie's time as the world record and credits Emmanuel Mutai, no relation to the Boston winner, with the top marathon of the year: 2:04:40 in London on Sunday. Although last year's top performances list includes the 2:05:52 Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot ran in Boston, this year's Boston runners are relegated to a separate section labeled "Downhill course."
Boston Athletic Association officials have said they would apply to have Mutai's time certified as the world record.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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