Why exactly was Geoffrey Mutai's 2:03:02 in Boston (2011) not deemed the marathon World Record at the time?

  • 8
    Just waiting for someone to run faster so the real answer can become, "Because so-and-so ran 2:03:01 in Berlin on $DATE."
    – pjmorse
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 13:19
  • 4
    :) and there it is.
    – pjmorse
    Commented Sep 28, 2014 at 9:04

3 Answers 3


The course for the Boston Marathon does not meet two of the criteria necessary for ratification of world or American records:

  • "The start and finish points of a course, measured along a theoretical straight line between them, shall not be further apart than 50% of the race distance." [i.e., 13.1 miles (21.1 km) for the ~26.2 mile (~42.2 km) marathon distance]
  • "The decrease in elevation between the start and finish shall not exceed an average of one in a thousand, i.e. 1m per km." [i.e., 42.2 m for the ~42.2 km marathon distance]

The Boston course has an endpoint about 24.3 miles (39 km) from the start point, and the endpoint is also 459 feet (139 m) lower than the start point.

source: wikipedia


Due to the fact that the Boston course is a net downhill in excess of the limit allowed by the world record setting body.

His time is recognized as the fastest marathon ever...but not the world record.


Because Dennis Kimetto ran 2:02:57 in Berlin on September 28, 2014.

  • 2
    Just in case nobody gets the joke: the answer selected as accepted was correct at the time of asking. For 3+ years, Mutai's time was the fastest ever, but not the WR; now Kimetto's mark from Berlin is both (pending ratification).
    – pjmorse
    Commented Sep 29, 2014 at 14:12
  • ...and now that Eliud Kipchoge has run sub-2:02, even this answer is wrong. :)
    – pjmorse
    Commented Dec 11, 2018 at 19:26

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