Gary Snyder: How about holding an all-comers meet at worlds?

Gary fires first shot in WMA prez race.

Gary Snyder has issued a “vision” statement in his race for WMA president at Malaga worlds. Creative stuff. He’s thinking beyond the current lets-put-on-a-track-meet-and-raise-money-for-travel-junkets mind-set of WMA leadership. One idea is holding a low-key meet concurrently with worlds. (Cheaper entry fees and less pressure for rookies, I imagine.) “Add a low key competition category for ‘participants’ – no medals – no records – just compete,” Gary writes. “This would attract new athletes not only for the championships but lifetime members for local clubs etc.” He’s running against a German lady not admired in some German circles. (I’m not aware of a third candidate.) So it looks as if Gary and Margit Jungmann will be going mano-a-mano. Eventually, I’ll shoot both of them a set of smarmy questions. If you have topics I should cover, post your queries here or shoot me email.

Anyway, here’s Gary’s vision for job:

I offer the following:

To emphasize a culture of collegiality and friendship in common mission for our sport worldwide among officers, staff, delegates, athletes, and administrators, as I worked hard to achieve at USA Masters Track & Field.

Enhanced Team Support

Create a position on the WMA staff for team support.

Designate an area at the main stadium where the trainers for each country can set up.

Handle requests from trainers for electrical power, ice, where to buy supplies, etc.

Designate an area in the viewing stands where the teams for each country can gather.

Smaller teams could join together by region.

Awards for teams with categories for small, medium and large country teams.

WMA Recognition

Research the feasibility of enhancing the WMA name. The WMA acronym is widely recognized but may not be readily associated with masters athletics by all.

Bring all media and social networking together in a comprehensive outreach effort.

Utilize online as well as email, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Make WMA the go-to place for masters athletics.

Stadia Schedule

Find a way to shorten the schedule. The schedule is very long straining all aspects of the stadia championships for athletes, officials, support staff etc. It essentially increases cost for everyone.

High cost of Athletes Party

Work with the LOC to reduce the ticket price. Ensure a quality experience with an opportunity to get together with friends. Too often the venue seems to be the central thought.

Establish a Worldwide network of T&F coaches providing in person and online coaching.

Many athletes, especially new comers, do not have access to a club or a trainer.

Add a low key competition category for ‘participants’ – no medals – no records – just compete. This would attract new athletes not only for the championships but lifetime members for local clubs etc. Ideal entry event for not only stadia but non stadia also. Would require an onsite entry system and creative use of stadia and non stadia facilities.

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January 23, 2018

10 Responses

  1. peter van aken - January 24, 2018

    I am not “part of the solution”, I do not contribute or volunteer to make Master’s Track and Field better. I do not serve on any local or national committees. So I commend Gary Snyder- his ability to CARE and to CONTRIBUTE is wonderful.

    But- #1- the low key competition meet concurrent with Worlds- will it have a Starter? Will anyone measure throws and horizontal jumps, replace the bar that gets knocked down in the vertical jumps? Will anyone setup hurdles and then remove them? If yes, this is part of the offering- then who will pay these officials who are working the “concurrent” meet?

    #2- “designated area in viewing stands where teams can gather- well, suppose every single nation wants to locate their team at the finish line? Suppose USA is delegated the backstretch curve and Brunei gets assigned the finish line portion of the stands?

    #3- high cost of the Athlete Party- well, I am really ignorant of budgets and planning, and I have only been to one outdoor worlds ever (Sac, 2011), where I did pay and attend the athlete party, but I just assume if the meet organizers could afford to make the athlete party “free”, or $2 a head, they would…do you think someone is padding and marking up the cost of the athlete’s party just to line someone’s pockets and cover shortfalls in other expenses? Parties on the scale of a Worlds sounds big and complicated- and expensive just by nature.

    I want to end on a supportive note, and say that many of Gary’s other suggestions are sensible, do-able, and very appropriate and “about time”.

  2. milan jamrich - January 25, 2018

    wrong gender 😉

  3. Mary Harada - January 25, 2018

    I could write some not very complimentary things about the WMA Athlete Parties I have attended . However I want to mention the Athletes Party at the WMA Regional Meet in Costa Rica. It was a lovely party with a sit-down meet and dancing. In fact of all the Athlete Parties I have attended over the years – it was the only one where there was a place to sit for everyone and a full meal was served on plates and one did not have to eat what food was provided while standing.

  4. Michael D Walker - January 26, 2018

    I have been to two worlds and skipped the Athlete Party because it was not a mandatory event and it did not fit my travel plans. My feeling is that if it seems to expensive or you just don’t like the format, don’t go.

  5. Peter L. Taylor - January 27, 2018

    I like a lot of Gary’s ideas, especially relative to the trainer and medical support, but I’m not sure about the “all-comers meet.” In fact, Peter and others, the apparent intention is to make this the same meet as worlds, only with different categories.

    In other words, it looks like you would enter the 100 and 200, for example, as a newcomer and get no awards (while presumably paying a lower entry fee). Or am I wrong? You would even go through the trials and semifinals with the others, hoping you could make the finals.

    If I am misreading this and there would really be two meets conducted simultaneously, I just don’t know how that would work. What a logistical nightmare, to say the least.

    I should also note that our current worlds are all-comers meets. You need no speed to run the 100, no lift to do the high jump, no skills to throw the javelin, and so forth. Just sign up and you’re in.

    Look at the Daegu indoor worlds, for example. In the W35 60 dash, where we know the young women can really fly, the winning time was a very nice 7.81 seconds. And yet, of the 12 women in the trials, fully one-third did not break 11 seconds, with one young woman running 12.20. In other words, those women had no speed at all.

    Some of the results in the men’s groups were just as bad. In one age group in which the winning time was 7.21 seconds, a full 17% of the field did not break 10 seconds in the trials. In other words, they were extremely slow.

    As a practical matter, it seems that many of the newcomers in the “alternative meet” would surpass the slower or less proficient who were in “the regular worlds.” Perhaps they might even ask why an exception was not being made: “Where’s my medal? My time was better than all but the winner.”

  6. Peter L. Taylor - January 27, 2018

    That was the M45 60 dash I was describing above. Let me amend the figure to 19%, as one man did not finish his trial. Of the ones who did finish the trials, the slowest time was 13.71 seconds, the same pace as a 400 in 1:31.40. Hard to imagine that a 45-year-old newcomer could not beat that.

  7. Mike W - January 28, 2018

    I am not sure how to interpret “all-comers meet” either. I agree with Peter above that holding parallel competitions would be chaotic. There is also the risk that the slower runners will opt for the cheaper all-comers race as they have no chance of making the finals, let alone the podium. The official race could end up with just a handful of runners who feel they have a realistic chance for the podium.

    A different interpretation may be to allow “all-comers” to participate in the road races, 10K, 1/2 Mar etc. This could have the advantage of additional publicity for the meet as local runners can be encouraged to participate. My provincial championships in Canada did this for the cross country championships. The community run, as it was called, was run with the masters championship and it resulted in a doubling of the field.

    For the road races there could be a corral system with the championship runners in the first corral and the community runners in the second. I am sure the increased revenue will more than offset the increase in costs. Then there are the intangible benefits of greater community involvement. I feel this is an idea worth considering.

  8. Peter L. Taylor - January 28, 2018

    It’s quite a mystery, Mike W., about how this thing would actually work, but I did learn from a very good source that races on the track would be included. This source did not mention road races.

    Regardless, Mike W., I agree with you that this “other meet” would have both challenges and unforeseen consequences. For example, if I’m 43 and run the 800 in 2:27 I know there’s no way I will do anything worthwhile at the worlds in Spain.

    Regardless, I buy a plane ticket, enjoy a nice vacation, and enter the “alternative 800,” running 2:26.99 as I trounce the field. I have a friend tape my race and go to as many parties as I can in the next month back in the US.

    “Would you like to see me win the 800 at worlds?” After the viewing, someone says: “But _______, it looks like you ran only about 2:27; how could that have been good enough to win a world championship?” I answer: “Well, I guess the others choked.”

  9. Gary Snyder - January 28, 2018

    One point of clarification – Ken labeled it ‘all-comers’. I envision something quite different. May be more of a hybrid clinic/casual competition?


  10. Weia Reinboud - January 28, 2018

    The idea of shortening the world’s sounds very interesting. With a careful study of how many hours a real world championship did cost a tighter scheme should be possible I think. At most one week, without a rest day, on the track constantly at least one run, one throw, one vertical and one horizontal could be going. Also I would welcome the use of just one stadium, or two next to each other like San Sebastian. When the number of participants does not fit in that scheme there should be an entrance limit.

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