USATF may add membership fee requirement to masters records

Say you’re a 90-year-old who’s raced 5Ks and 10Ks locally for years. You hear of a meet in town, and you enter the 5000 — and break an M90 or W90 American record! The meet is USATF-sanctioned. Rails line the track. And you have enough rivals to make it legit. After filling out the paperwork, you deserve to see the record ratified, right? Not so fast. If Graeme Shirley and Gary Snyder have their way, you’d have one more hurdle to jump: You have to be a USATF members as well. That’s an amendment submitted by Graeme on behalf of our former national masters chair and recommended by the USATF Rules Committee for approval at the Ohio annual meeting this week. So what’s my gripe? This could derail efforts to fix our train wreck records system. How many ARs would not be recognized because of this added technicality? It also creates a pay-to-play system for records. You can’t have an AR unless you join USATF. My argument: Sanctioning and U.S. citizenship should be sufficient. We should make it easier to apply for records, not harder.

So what will WMA do if we don’t enact rule? Block our records submissions?

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November 28, 2017

17 Responses

  1. Scott Copeland - November 28, 2017

    …and the even finer print….must be wearing a USATF endorsed product.

  2. MJ Lowe - November 28, 2017

    Does it have to do with the code of ethics and agreement to be drug tested that is part of USATF membership? Is there any way to find out the rationale?

    It’d be nice if in addition to the proposed rule change document, they showed the proposed changes in a complete redlined document for context.

  3. Ken Stone - November 28, 2017

    Gary Snyder writes to clarify why his name is attached to the proposal:

    Many rule changes that are submitted have my name because submissions generally come through the chair. Frankly I have no connection to the change other than my name.

  4. Weia Reinboud - November 28, 2017

    This is normal overhere. No member of the federation, no meet, no record.

  5. Thomas Sputo - November 28, 2017

    But normal (for anything whatsoever) in Europe is not the right thing for here in the US. Don’t force me to write more.

  6. Michael D Walker - November 28, 2017

    If you want set a record and have it certified by the USATF being a member seems reasonable. To set a club record for my local running club I have to be a member. Other wise, it is not a club record. Is that unreasonable?

  7. Thomas Sputo - November 28, 2017

    Michael … because it is not a USATF record. It is an American Record or a World Record.

  8. Bill Murray - November 29, 2017

    USATF, the NGO for IAAF, administers records in the USA. One of the requirements for an Masters American or Masters World record is that it occur at a USATF sanctioned event. Athletes who participate in a Masters USATF sanctioned event may be subjected to drug testing. Drug test are paid for by the Masters USATF budget. USATF members pay annual fees which help pay the budget for the USATF masters record chair. If you look at the records listed at they are identified as USATF records. If you navigate to and go to records page, the records application is clearly identified as a USATF records application. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that in order to set a record, you should be a USATF member.

  9. Thomas Sputo - November 29, 2017

    Bill. The question is more like this. Can a non-USATF member who is a US citizen, participate in a meet with a USATF sanction? If the answer is yes, then you have your answer there. Regarding the application form identifying itself as a “USATF Record Application,” I could sign my name as the King of Siam, but that doesn’t make me it either.

  10. Todd Straka - November 29, 2017

    I am a USATF member but I don’t think that you should have to have the membership to be recognized as the fastest in your age group. Period.

    Too many holes. What if you are not a member when you break the record. Are you allowed to sign up for after the fact?

    Sanctioning presents its own set of problems for a runner. What if you run your best race at an unsanctioned race? No dice. And from what I have heard, even if the event is sanctioned, the event may not be prepared or available to process the paperwork in a timely fashion.

    Ken stated it perfectly: Sanctioning and U.S. citizenship should be sufficient.

  11. Peter L. Taylor - November 30, 2017

    Todd, following up on your third paragraph, you can “set a record” at a meet sanctioned by USATF and have no chance whatsoever of getting approval for that mark.

    For example, there might not be enough runners (you need three, but a record was lost a couple of years ago in a regional meet because the women’s mile had only two competitors).

    A track record can be lost in a sanctioned meet because the inside of the track was not marked in an appropriate manner, and a throwing mark can be rejected because the landing area or throwing circle in a sanctioned meet was out of conformance.

    If you go to a mega meet such as the Penn Relays or a large meet like the Mt. SAC Relays, our history shows that processing the records can be very challenging.

    In my view, a whole new approach should be taken to records set at Penn. Specifically, I believe that if the official results of the meet show a masters record, that mark should go right through.
    There would be a proviso that if anyone wishes to question the record, he/she can do so by submitting evidence that the mark is incorrect.

    I processed Penn Relays records for many years before giving up; it’s a thankless job. Further, the issue never was whether the athlete had run the time; at the Relays they don’t “make up” the times. In addition, the meet has perhaps the top FAT crew in the nation.

    We all know that at certain much smaller meets (our masters nationals), the records are supposed to go right through; why not do that for Penn Relays, Drake Relays, and Mt. SAC Relays?

  12. Ken Stone - December 5, 2017

    The membership fee requirement for USATF masters records was approved:

  13. Thomas Sputo - December 5, 2017

    It’s all fun until someone’s 90 year old grandmother or grandfather sets an American record at a USATF sanctioned National Senior Games, and they are not a USATF member. I’m a prophet.

  14. Carl Rose - December 7, 2017

    There seem to be a number of hurdles to attaining and ratifying a record, some legitimate, others perhaps not so much.

    Three individuals in a race, three USATF officials present, a rail on the inside lane of the track, FAT timing, proof of citizenship, all that I get. I think they could conceivably require this going forward, but they might want to grandfather in existing records to avoid a complete PR disaster.

  15. Michael D Walker - December 7, 2017

    Maybe we should forget about records and compete for fun, recreation and good health.

  16. christian cushing-murray - December 8, 2017

    having gone through the frustrations surrounding the record ratification process, i want to first acknowledge the current efforts of jeff brower to streamline the process.

    what i can’t completely understand are the complaints over a required usatf membership–please understand that even though i am no fan of bureaucracy, it is not “pay to play” when your membership gives you the benefits and support that our federation gives, such as the maintenance of records and overseeing their ratification, among other things such as training officials and officiating meets, which are not free services. some masters benefit from many of these services, and some maybe only benefit from a few, but this is how federations work. usatf also requires age verification when competing at national level meets. if someone’s 90 year old grandma is prepared to chase a usatf record, which takes time and planning, then they can add to their preparation ponying up a $30 membership fee.

    by the way, you can set single year age group records that are not usatf “approved,” and they require no paperwork whatsoever, or even a sanctioned meet as far as i can tell. you could also choose to do the research and make your own list, but i doubt the bragging rights would be as meaningful as a usatf record…

  17. David E. Ortman (M64), Seattle, WA - December 9, 2017

    O.K. Does that mean that ALL existing USATF American age-group track and field records will be scrubbed to delete any records set at open meets, but did not hold USATF membership? What about a record set at a foreign meet where USATF membership is not required?

    Should this logic also apply to world age-group track and field records? No records unless you are a member of WMA?

    Perspiring minds want to know.

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