September 20, 2011 / 4:30 PM / 6 years ago

Argument erupts over Radcliffe's marathon record

2 Min Read

<p>World marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe of Britain speaks during a news conference prior to Sunday's marathon, where she is a two-time winner and defending champion, in New York October 31, 2008.</p>

LONDON (Reuters) - Marathon bodies opposed on Tuesday a move by the governing IAAF to reclassify Paula Radcliffe's 2003 women's world record and replace it with a slower time.

The International Association of Athletics Federations agreed in Daegu, South Korea, last month to acknowledge as women's world records only those times set in all-women competitions.

Performances achieved in mixed fields would instead be referred to only as a "world best".

The rule change, due to come into effect in January next year, would see Radcliffe's record of 2:15.25 set in London in 2003 downgraded to a world best while the Briton's time of 2:17.42 -- set in London in 2005 -- would become the new record.

World Marathon Majors (WMM) and the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) said in a joint statement that they felt the IAAF Congress decision "does not represent what is required by the sport of road running.

"They further believe that there should be two world records for women's road running performances, separately recognizing those achieved in mixed competition and women's only conditions," it added.

The WMM is made up of the Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York marathons while AIMS represents more than 300 races worldwide.

The two bodies said they would continue to recognize both types of performances as world records and would discuss the matter further with the IAAF.

"The current situation where the fastest time is not now recognized as a record is confusing and unfair and does not respect the history of our sport," they added.

An IAAF spokesman recognized the difference of opinion and said it was now up to the marathon bodies to argue their case formally.

Radcliffe, now 37, will be running in the Berlin Marathon on Sunday and is hoping to compete also in next year's London Olympics.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer; For Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport

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