Should athletes have say on 2-day or 1-day USATF region meets?

Mark Cleary is USATF West Region coordinator, an appointed post that puts him in charge of the masters championships for the states of California, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona. In July 2010, I noted complaints of some athletes to Mark’s insistence on holding two-day regional meets. Mark defends it (despite its extra cost) as a way of replicating the nationals experience. He repeated his argument in a comment Wednesday, saying in part: “If you are a serious athlete and are going to Nationals, you can not prepare the body for a 4-day Nationals off a one-day Region Meet.” My 2010 poll indicated another view: 42 votes for a one-day meet, 16 for a two-day (and 8 unsure). My poll isn’t scientific. But it suggests that further study is merited. Mark works hard to serve elites, but are elites on his side? And what do coordinators elsewhere do? According to his annual meeting report, the 2014 West Region meet is June 21-22 at Caltech in Pasadena. So that’s not likely to change. But shouldn’t the athletes have a say? For 2015, how about someone at USATF doing a survey? Mark may be on the wrong side.

Mark (in blue at 2007 Mt. SAC Relays) also runs masters invitational program.

Here’s the 2010 poll brought back for fun:

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January 16, 2014

14 Responses

  1. Sully - January 17, 2014

    What a great predicament!!! One or two days in Sunny Southern California…I always do my best to attend this meet, drive out from really Sunny Arizona, and have never been disappointed …..Mark and his crew do a super job running this meet…..Hope to see you So.Ca. runners in June…I hope it is a two day, …..give me time to practice my surfing and hit Venice Beach for a B-Ball game or two…..

  2. Terry Parks - January 17, 2014

    The one day meets make running and jumping in multiple events nearly impossible. With on a few minutes recovery between some events, you can’t really have a quality race. I am all for the two day events.

  3. Richard Watson - January 17, 2014

    A one day meet better serves those who have, say two events, that do not have time conflicts with each other and where fatigue from the first event does not adversely affect performance in the second, and does not want to stay for a second day. However, for those doing more events, especially several flights of field events that are prolonged, frequently have time conflicts with each other, and concurrent running events, there is less time conflict and fatigue considerations in a two day meet. This allows such competitors to compete in each event that he so desires with less degree of time conflicts, ongoing fatigue, inadequate warm up, stress and risk of injury. Also, performances would be improved. Isn’t this the reason that each of us trains hard and travels to meets? For the above reasons, I strongly support the two day format.

  4. Anthony Treacher - January 17, 2014

    Same debate in Stockholm district just now. I am also all for the two-day events. But we are then asking the meet officials to spend two days instead of one and so we must make it attractive for them.

  5. David E. Ortman (M60), Seattle, WA - January 17, 2014

    First, hats off and thanks to the T&F officials, without whom none of us would be able to start or finish an event. Yes, we need to be sensitive to asking T&F officials to commit to a two day meet.

    However, for a Regional USAT&F Championship meet, two days are preferred for the following reasons:

    * Many summer all-comer meets are good for training but may use hand times or less than optimum measuring for field events. Therefore, a Regional USAT&F Championship meet may be the only time to get a FAT or well-measured field mark.

    * Many of us can not participate in National USAT&F Championships due to travel costs, schedules, etc. So a Regional USAT&F Championship may be the only good quality meet of the season.

    * It is not helpful to good performance to have events overlap or conflict during a one-day meet (and it happens enough during a two-day and sometimes two-week meets such as WMA!!) For example, the Washington Senior Games has a one day meet lasting approximately 3.5 hours. Even without hurdles, the WSG makes a hash of trying to optimize performance. In fact, during every other year “qualifying” meets, of which 2014 will be one, there is little incentive to do anything other than make the qualifying standards for the National Senior Games.

    The Northwest Regional Masters T&F meet has traditionally been two-days, although some years has gone to a one-day meet. There is no question in my mind that the two-day meets produce better performances and allow masters athletes enough recovery time to participate in multiple events. (e.g., a one-day meet makes it almost impossible to consider running both the 400m and the 400mH or 300mH, but easily done in a two-day meet.)

    If any meet should be shrink in time, it is the WMA world championships. WMA should consider the model of the National Senior Games, namely, have M/W35-59 for the first week and then M/W 60+ the second week. The time for the officials would be the same, but the time and cost for athletes would be substantially reduced. [For the occasional couple completing with a split in ages, they would be no worse off than the current schedule.]

    P.S. Still looking to share room at Boston Indoors in March. If interested email: deortman (at)

  6. Mark Cleary - January 18, 2014

    You forget that our officials are paid and they drive in-so this is not an issue with our West Region Championships. There are enough events on both days. If someone is traveling in to do the meet and does not want to stay over they can make it a one day meet. I grow tired of those that would like to dictate a one day format for all. Most serious athletes prefer the 2 day format. Contrary to Ken’s point of view all serious athletes are not elite. Also I have done my own pole and it is a polar opposite to what Ken’s pole shows. Again if you don’t want the cost of a hotel make it a one day meet- We put on a pretty good meet- you will not find a better Region meet anywhere in the country- The meet weekend is June 21st & 22nd and online entry will be available at Any USATF member age 30 or older from anywhere in the U.S. is welcome. We always have FAT timing, great officiating, Mondo Track for fast times, nice medals & great weather. I look forward seeing all of you that can make it.

  7. barry givens - January 18, 2014

    Problems w/ 1 day meets are that those that do a high number of events end up juggling too many events and thus have a lower quality of performance. Also, a 1 day meet takes forever that day and never ends. 2 day meets are better as you have more time to recover and to do all the events someone wants. Also each day is not that long, so it ends up being more efficiently run.

  8. Kevin Paulk - January 19, 2014

    A 2-day format provides the opportunity to choose one day or both days, and for a lot of folks its the only masters meet with competitive racing… after all we definitely don’t need to spend money on time-trials.

  9. Jeff Davison - January 19, 2014

    Please note that the meet was begun long before Mark took over as meet director. It was begun as a two day meet – for the athletes and officials. Several officials had requested that it remain a two day meet.

    The meet has had 100 deg F days in the past …
    alot for the officials, and alot for those that would like to compete in many events.

    And – I believe the meet has had over 300 athletes at its peak.

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