The Boston Marathon had a reputation as a slower marathon until two years ago, when Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot smashed the course record with a time of 2:05:52. But that was nothing compared to what Geoffrey Mutai did the following year, completing the fastest marathon ever run in 2:03:02.
What gives the Boston Marathon the potential to be a very fast race is that it’s a net-downhill course and the competition level is very high (qualifiers only, please). The unparalleled crowd support also can’t be discounted as a performance enhancer. And when there’s a tailwind on the eastward-heading point-to-point route, you’d almost have to try not to set a PR.
But those tailwinds are rare. In fact, most years there’s a PR-thwarting headwind in Boston. Rain and heat are also all too common. Even when the weather does cooperate, success on Boston’s unique course requires specific preparation. The long and often steep descents are just as likely to slow you down in the long run, by beating up your legs, as the notorious Newton Hills.