Sprinter/hurdlers will love proposed USATF rule changes

Hey, sprinters! Tired of showing up for morning heats with only six or seven others, but the meet director says: “See you in six hours for the scheduled final”? That idiotic practice would end under a masters rule change proposed by Patrick Pretty at the December USATF convention in Reno. Hey, hurdlers! Tired of running a 400-meter hurdles heat to eliminate one guy? Steve Vaitones has a proposal for that nonsense, too: Make timed finals the rule. Those are but two of a couple dozen proposals on the table at Reno affecting masters track or LDR. Some great ideas. Check out the whole slate of USATF rules-change ideas by clicking here.

And Graeme Shirley has proposed that USATF catch up with an edict by World Masters Athletics by introducing the 200-meter hurdles (at 400-meter hurdle spacings) for women over 70. In August, I noted the surprise appearance of this event at Lahti worlds.
Here are a few of suggestions I copy-and-pasted from the USATF PDF:

Item 94 – Submitted by Steve Vaitones, Rules Committee
Add New Rule 331.4 as follows:

A time schedule which includes the starting time of each event on each day (not just an order of events) shall be included as part of the information distributed with the entry materials
Reason: Currently, Masters Games Committee policy is to publish a list of events for each day of competition with no starting times. Despite posting a “true” time schedule several days before the meet begins, this non-time policy inconveniences athletes in a number of ways, particularly not knowing how to economically plan for travel and lodging. And even in this day and age, there are masters athletes who do not have daily access to the internet. The Masters championships have enough of a history regarding participation and number of sections to produce a reasonable time schedule with the initial meet information; even if time schedules are set conservatively, no officials or volunteers have ever complained about a few minutes of “down time” when working this meet. A sampling of entrants at the 2008 Indoor USA Masters Championship shows a preference for a time schedule.
Item 96 – Submitted by Patrick Pretty, President Wisconsin Assoc.
Add New Rule 332.2(c) as follows and renumber:

Unless otherwise provided by the Games Committee, whenever the number of competitors reporting for an event makes heats, as required in this Rule, unnecessary, the event shall be run as a final at the time in the program so scheduled for the heats.
Add a Note to Rule 166.2 indicating an exception for Masters in Rule 332.2(c).
Reason: To put in the rules the current practice that is being used by the Masters Committee and in smaller meets. It does not make sense to run the heats when the when the finals are listed due to other events and the athletes have shown-up and are ready to run at the time of heats are scheduled.
Item 97 – Submitted by Steve Vaitones, Rules Committee
Amend Rule 332.2(e) as follows:

In outdoor events of ((1500)) 800 meters or longer and in the 300 and 400 meter hurdles, timed finals shall be run. Indoors, timed finals shall be run in events of 400 meters or longer. In events of 2000 meters or longer, the number of participants per section …
Reason: Seeding in those events in masters meets can adequately create appropriately seeded sections. Masters attend meets and often do multiple events where walk-overs are common. And this may help condense the meet for economic reasons as well.
Item 106 – Submitted by Steve Vaitones, Rules Committee
Amend Rule 340.1 as follows:

The Masters Long Distance Running Committee shall conduct and supervise a program for long distance running for all athletes over the age of 40. ((Effective 1/1/2011, the Masters Long Distance Running Committee shall conduct and supervise a program for long distance running for all athletes over the age of 35.))
Reason: Keep masters distance running at age 40!
Item 102 – Submitted by Graeme Shirley, Rules Committee
Amend Rule 332.2k Table and Note as follows:

30-49 400m 0.762m(30″) 10 45m 35m 40m
50-59 300m* 0.762m(30″) 7 50m 35m 40m
60-69 300m* 0.686m(27″) 7 50m 35m 40m
70&up 200m* 0.686m(27″) 5 20m 35m 40m
*The locations for the hurdles in the 300m event are the same as those of the last seven hurdles of the 400m event. They are not same as the high school 300m hurdle race, which uses eight hurdles. The locations for the hurdles in the 200m event are the same as those of the last five hurdles of the 400m event.
Reason: This WMA rule change has been confirmed orally by Rex Harvey, Vice President-Stadia, WMA, as having been passed by the Executive Council mid-2008, effective immediately. The 200m event is on the meet schedule for the 2009 World Championships. For incorporation under Rule 332.1.c, the WMA Rule must be published in the IAAF/WMA Handbook. This has not been done, nor has the rule been published online. This submission is for an action item at the Annual Meeting to determine if the conditions of Rule 332.1.c have been met at that time.

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November 1, 2008

9 Responses

  1. Jimson Lee - November 1, 2008

    Timed Finals only work if you submit a REAL qualifying time from a recent REAL meet with REAL FAT timing systems. No hand times, and no PB’s when you were 20 years old.

  2. Tony Echeandia - November 1, 2008

    I absolutely agreed! Simple Logic works wonders.

  3. Tom Phillips - November 1, 2008

    Great if you guys can get USATF to set an example in this way. It needs to then be picked up by the likes of WMA and EVAA etc. Not only should there be an insistence on submitting a recent time, but there needs to be an insistence on actually submitting a time at all. Far too many competitors for Riccione, Clermont Ferrand etc simply didn’t bother to list a time at all. And this was NOT the preserve of athletes who might be entering the event for the first time, or who hadn’t run one before entering. Some of the culprits were well known names.

  4. Ed Baskauskas - November 1, 2008

    Why do we allow athletes themselves to submit (or burden them with submitting) marks on entry forms or on ranking lists? If the ranking lists would accept only those marks submitted by directors of sanctioned meets, that should largely eliminate the problem of bogus marks (except for the occasional typo, which could be handled by the list asministrator on a case-by-case basis). Then, if national and international meets would seed athletes solely on the basis of marks listed in the rankings, that should minimize the problem of athletes being put in the wrong heats. Anyone who enters a national or international meet without a recent listed mark will just have to accept being put into an unseeded heat with the rest of us lugs.

  5. Jeff Davison - November 2, 2008

    I like Ed Baskauskas suggestion that masterstrack rankings could be used to seed the national races.
    -Jeff Davison

  6. Marek Wensel - November 4, 2008

    I agree that with the new format it is critical that entry times are legit. I have been outspoken for years about how ridiculous many of the seed times are at Nationals. My only issue is with demanding FAT times only (it may be necessary for the 55, 60 and 100). There are parts of the country (including where I live – upper midwest) where finding a meet with auto-timing can be a challenge. Even our USATF Association Championship is hand-timed. The college meets are an option, but are obviously run very early relative to our season and often in very poor weather. Perhaps results from the previous years Nationals could suffice?
    I also like the idea of using the masterstrack rankings for seeding. By the way I believe they do accept hand-times.

  7. Jeff Brower - November 4, 2008

    I believe most of you are referring to Item 96. Not sure if I’m reading this right, so please correct me. If Item 94 is approved, then there may be quite a bit of dead time during the finals if Item 96 is also approved. I like the sound of Item 97, though.
    What do you think about Item 102 (replacing the 300m hurdles with 200m hurdles in W70+)? I’m concerned about the precedents that have been set in the hurdles, and the precedent that may be set if this is approved. Aren’t the events supposed to test the diverse abilities of athletes? Some may argue that 200M is testing the long hurdle sprint endurance for W70+. But what is the “tipping” point when an event is too similar to another? Should we be concerned about whether an event tests a particular skill, in this case, the skill to run the long hurdles?

    Women run 400MH over 10 hurdles up to age 49, and Item 102 implies that 21 years later, it’s appropriate for women to run 200m over 5 hurdles (which are 3″ lower). Will we see a similar change for M80 in the future? Since odd-distance races have been supported before (i.e., 80MH), is 250MH more appropriate? Where’s the analysis supporting this? The current Age-Factor for W70 in the long hurdles in .9338, which doesn’t indicate a huge drop necessitating a shorter race. Any thoughts?

  8. Ken Stone - November 4, 2008

    The population of 70-plus female hurdlers isn’t large, so I’ll let them speak for themselves.
    But if I were a lady timber-topper in those age groups, I’d be grateful for a reprieve from hurdles 6-8!
    Can we cut the M55 long hurdles down to 200?

  9. Jeff Brower - November 5, 2008

    Hey Ken. Using your example, if 100 men age 55-59 propose a rule change to replace the 400IH with 200IH, is there any reason this shouldn’t be approved? Is it OK to let athletes choose their own specs?

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