"That is why athletes are important, why records are important. Because they demonstrate the scope of human possibility, which is unlimited. The inconceivable is conceived, and then it is accomplished."
- Brian Ganville, "The Olympian"
Originally I started writing this post in December of 2009. Before I posted I wanted to try to find official distance (leg) amputee running records or even a list of unofficial records. This is a follow-up to my post "Goal Setting" found here.
Before there is any misunderstanding of my intent, I was/am trying to find the truth about these records. Why is this such a problem? Because a World Record should mean that the time has been verified at a sanctioned event, that the course was certified, and the athlete, especially bilateral runners, met the criteria for equipment and leg length. Simply saying you have a world record because you do not know of a faster time does not mean you own a world record.
This is a serious claim as there is a serious distinction between a World Record and a World Leading Time.
After many conversations/emails with athletes and disabled organizations, the truth is, as I write this:
THERE ARE NO OFFICIAL WORLD RECORDS FOR DISTANCE RUNNING BY AMPUTEES
By distance I mean from at least the 5k to the marathon (and likely from 800m and up). There are World Leading Times, but there is no organization that verifies and maintains any distance World Records for amputees.
Athletes and the public alike should have access to the records at an official site, and should be able to see the progression of times by athletes over the years who held the previous record(s).
On a personal note, I could probably claim the fastest grand masters amputee records in the state of SC because as far as I know, no one has run faster. I don't even know any other amputee runners my age in my state. But I would never in a million years make the pronouncement that I am the state record holder unless my times were certified and entered into the state record books, a place I could point you to for verification.
I am making a point of this because something needs to be done. These records need to be kept by an official organization like the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), International Wheelchair & Amputee Sport Federation, or others.
The current records are kept by IWAS Sports here. You will not find any distance world records for T42 class (transfemoral and knee disarticulation amputees) and T44 class (transtibial and symes).
Let's make the records official, let's give the athletes due recognition that will cause others to strive beyond limits.
Let's make it right.
UPDATE: Here are the official Men's and Womens World Records. You will not find any for T42 or T44 athletes. Let's hope they do begin keeping these important marks soon.