(30-Nov-2007) -- On the heels of a very successful USA Olympic Team Trials -
Men's Marathon in New York City on Nov. 3, the USATF Men's Long
Distance Running (LDR) Committee voted today to tighten significantly
the qualifying standards for the 2012 Trials.
Under the new
scheme approved by delegates today, there will no longer be separate
"A" and "B" qualifying standards where "A" qualifiers have their
travel, lodging and meal expenses paid by the event, and "B" qualifiers
do not. Instead, athletes achieving any of the following performances
in the marathon, half-marathon or 10,000m in a still to be determined
qualifying period will simply be labeled "qualifiers," all of whom will
have their expenses paid:
LDR Chairman, Glenn Latimer, said that there was broad support amongst
his committee members for the change, designed to reduce significantly
the number of qualifiers, making the race more manageable for potential
organizers (the venue for the 2012 Trials has not yet been set). The
Trials race held this year had 179 qualifiers (130 starters), 64 of
which had met the "A" standard. Latimer said that that under the new
scheme the number would likely be between 65 and 85.
"They voted for, and unanimously supported, the new standards for the 2012 Olympic Trials," Latimer said of his committee.
the previous qualifying system, men who had achieved at least a 2:20:00
marathon within the stated qualifying period were designated as "A"
qualifiers. Athletes running 2:20:01 to 2:22:00 in the marathon, or
28:43 for 10,000m, or 13:40 for 5000m, were designated "B" qualifiers.
Under the new program, 5000m times will not be counted towards
qualifying for the Trials.
Moreover, a more subtle change to the
standards, Latimer said, was the unacceptability of marathon and
half-marathon marks achieved on excessively aided courses. Under the
previous scheme, as long as a performance was achieved on a certified
course, an athlete's mark was acceptable for qualifying for the Trials.
Latimer said that an approved list of marathon courses was under
consideration by his committee. Most of the courses on that list will
be USA record-standard (start-finish separation of 30% of the race
distance or less, and an elevation loss of no more than 1 meter per
kilometer of race distance). However, some marathon courses which do
not meet the strict terms for records, like Boston or New York City,
are likely to be included because they generally do not produce
excessively fast times.
"I think it's pretty close now," Latimer said of the state of completion of the list.
for the Trials has long been a point of pride amongst USA distance
runners, and with the bar raised for 2012, qualifying will become an
even greater badge of honor. Given the resurgance of men's distance
running in the USA, many experts felt that it was time to tighten up
the Trials qualifying standards.
"I think they lowered the
standard to keep Deena out of the Trials," joked Bob Larsen, the Team
Running USA California coach referring to American women's marathon
record holder, Deena Kastor. Kastor met the "A" standard for the men's
Trials with her 2:19:36 performance at London in 2006.
Women's LDR Chair, Elizabeth Phillips, said earier in the day that her
committee had not yet decided if they should change to a single
qualifying standard for 2012, of if they should tighten their current
standards of 2:39:00 for "A" qualifiers and 2:47:00 for "B" qualifiers.
Women can also earn a "B" qualifier with a 10,000m performance of