BOSTON — Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai ran the fastest 26.2 miles in history to win the Boston Marathon on Monday. Then his claim to a world record was swallowed up by the hills.
Not the inclines of Heartbreak Hill that have doomed so many.
It was the downhill part of the race that makes his time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, 2 seconds ineligible for an official world record. In short: IAAF rules have deemed the oldest and most prestigious marathon in the world — long considered one of the most difficult, too — to be too easy.
"You don't look at world records. You just go," Mutai said. "If you are strong, you push it. But if you put it in your head, you can't make it."
Mutai outsprinted Moses Mosop down Boylston Street to win by 4 seconds as both Kenyans beat Haile Gebrselassie's sanctioned world record of 2:03:59. Gebregziabher Gebremariam of Ethiopia and American Ryan Hall also broke the course record of 2:05:52 set last year by Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot.
"These guys obviously showed us what's possible for the marathon," said Hall, whose 2:04:58 is the fastest ever run by an American. "I was out there running, and I was thinking to myself, 'I can't believe this is happening right now. I'm running a 2:04 pace, and I can't even see the leaders.' It was unreal."
The IAAF must certify a world record, and it is unlikely to approve Mutai's feat. The international governing body's Rule 206 requires courses to start and finish near the same point in order to discourage downhill, wind-aided runs and the artificially fast times they can produce. (Boston has a net decline of 459 feet, though the course is dominated by hills.)
Caroline Kilel won the women's race to complete the Kenyan sweep, outsprinting Desiree Davila to win by 2 seconds in 2:22:36. Davila ran the fastest time ever for a U.S. woman.
Masazumi Soejima and Wakako Tsuchida gave Japan a sweep of the men's and women's wheelchair divisions.
SPECTATOR INJURED: A 22-year-old man watching the marathon from the roof of an apartment building crashed through a skylight and plunged five stories in Brookline. The Boston-area university student suffered serious injuries but was conscious after the fall in the atrium of the building at 1834 Beacon St.