This may have been addressed previously, but it is something I have thought about many times.

In 1981, Alberto Salazar was ranked #1 "... by the scantest of margins from Aussie de Castella" (T&FN Jan 1982 edition). Their reasoning was, "The Australian lost the top spot, and the World Record, when he dropped behind Salazar's schedule ..."

Since the NYC course was subsequently found short, which means Deke didn't drop behind Salazar's schedule, and since Deke defeated the #4, 5, & 8 rankers that year while Salazar "only" defeated the #10 ranker, I wonder if it is possible to re-rank 1981, with Deke as #1 and Salazar #2.