Head to Head: Should Boston Be Made Legal?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew A. 7 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #12472


    Of course this is going to come up as Boston nears.

    I'm kind of glad to see where the discussion went. Quite different than some of the naive discussions we saw just after Boston last year. In fact, that wasn't so much a head to head debate as two individuals agreeing on the facts and applying their common sense to the question.

    I thought Amby Burfoot did a good job summing it up right off the top:

    I have never had any doubt that Boston is, under perfect conditions, an aided course—and therefore one that can't be eligible for record-setting performances.

    Well stated. In the typical year, Boston is probably not aided. Under just the right circumstances, as we saw last year, it clearly is.

  • #32287


    They can certainly set course records and personal best records.  That has not been taken away from anyone.

  • #32288

    Heh, no.

  • #32289
  • #32290


    It's good to see, once the excitement of 2:03:02 has settled, that people have come to their senses (or those who have always had their senses about them are now being heard) and the debate is as one-sided in this direction as it was in the other right after the race. I don't know if I agree with Daniels about a 5+ minute benefit but it's not even debatable that there was a benefit and that, because of that once in 20 years scenario, this race should not be record eligible.

    Also, I like what Stefan Hagg stated in the comments. If you make Boston record eligible, what other races will want to be eligible? Will St. George become eligible? Will there be a new marathon started that runs down the Swiss Alps? We need clearly defined, reasonable standards. We have those currently. Don't mess with them.

  • #32291

    However, one thing I keep seeing mentioned is that the Boston course, sans strong tailwind, is unaided despite the elevation loss due to the uphills positioned near the end as they are.  I am unsure why this gets accepted as fact so easily without any strong analysis of evidence that I have ever seen.  The main supporting arguments I see forwarded have been along the lines of “if you think the elevation loss is an aid then why has the WR not been bettered there before?” (well, race tactics + lack of pacers, chiefly) or “it looks like an aid to most people until they have to run it and find out what the hills do to your legs” (offered often seemingly by the type to let the early downhills pull them out faster than is wise).  Sort of circular logic, an amalgamation of anecdotal bias that disregards context to some degree.  Sure, there are factors like headwind and/or heat/humidity that would render a WR essentially impossible on the course, but those would significantly negatively affect the odds of a WR at Berlin, Chicago, London, or Rotterdam, as well.  It still seems highly likely that anyone who prepares for the specifics of the course, executes the right strategy for that course, and gets favorable enough weather on race day (weather that would be favorable enough at any other marathon) should be able to run their best time there.

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