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  • 2012 Marathon Trials Standards

    There's an interesting article in the April issue of Running Times magazine. The author, a marathoner herself, Tamara Rice Lave, takes issue with the standards that the USATF men's and women's LDR committees have set for the 2012 Oly Trials. Up till now there has been an A and B standard. Make the A and USATF helps pay for your trip to the OT; make the B and you may run, but you won't get the same financial support.

    For 2012 the MLDRC (she cites Glenn Latimer as being the instigator) eliminated the B standard, so everyone will have to run the 2:19 standard to be eligible for the race. The WLDRC kept the B, but lowered it to 2:46. The effect is that both field should end up with fewer competitors for increased 'managability' (which Lave calls 'preposterous').

    So Lave says this is a bad idea. She has good reasons too. Fewer numbers creates lower 'visibility' for the races, fewer (financial and competitive) opportunities for aspiring elite runners, etc..

    But I think the 'other side' of this is that by having slower standards, we 'dumb down' the event. Lower standards 'inspires' runners to be slower. If the standard is higher, and you want to run in the OT, you will have to race harder. Isn't that a good thing? Don't we want to encourage our marathoners to race faster? Hasn't the standard of performance of USA marathoners been decreasing since the 1980s?

    I look at the 1984 list and see 10th is 2:11:41 and 20th is 2:12:50.
    I look at the 2008 list and see 10th is 2:16:20 and 20th is 2:18:49.

    What's up with that? If we want faster marathoners, mustn't we insist on faster marathoners?

  • #2
    They lowered the standard to 2:46? So someone can run a half hour slower than the the WR and they qualify for the Olympic Trials. No wonder there is always some story about someone running their 100th Olympic Trial or something like that.

    As for visibility who would notice if there 10 times as many?

    These are suppose to be Trials to pick a team. Anything else is nonsense. The worse injustice ever was Kirsty Johnson in 2000 running the Oly qualifying time getting second and still not going because the sponsor had to have the winner go!

    Good for Glenn.

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    • #3
      Mr. Elitist couldn't agree more...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by gh
        Mr. Elitist couldn't agree more...
        Pauca sed matura

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        • #5
          Setting the men's standard at 2:19:00 (while keeping a 10km and half-marathon option) seems reasonable -- for instance, a glance at the OT marathon qualifiers list for 2008, shows that a 2:19:00 cutoff still left ~45 qualifiers (not including those with qualifying times at other distances). Seems reasonable to guesstimate that, with the standard at 2:19:00, for the 2012 marathon trials, we'll have a field between 50-100 runners. The more the better, but that seems a reasonable # to estimate for the event.

          On the other hand, the adjustment of the women's standard seems really minimal -- I'm not measuring it against the WR or imagining who does/does not have a real chance at the team, etc.; rather, I'm thinking about setting up a race with a field of 50-100 runners. I'm comparing the women's standards and lists against the men's standard and the possible #s of qualified runners. Again, a glance at the 2008 qualifiers list -- a cutoff of 2:46:00 only reduces the field by about ~35 runners, and still would have left a field of ~150 qualified athletes. To yield a list of about the same # as the men's -- ~50ish runners from the 2008 qualifiers -- the women's cutoff could be set at 2:44:00. As with the men, one could probably expect, at that qualifying standard, still to have an event in 2012 with 50-100 athletes (probably closer to 100, in fact).

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          • #6
            i would like to see the standards higher, but for a different reason, i would make the standards ALWAYS a little faster than whatever the womens record is. example if the trials standard is lets say 28:30 or under for 10k, under 1:04:00 for the half marathon or 2:14:00 for the marathon, then everyone who has any real hope of making the team would be able to run the trials, and the ones who dont quite make it to the trials, could run a different marathon and become defacto pacers for women who are trying to break the womens world record. the standards would always be set on the january right after the previous olympics, keep the 2012 standards what they are now, but for the 2016 olympics the trials standard would be reset on january 2013, for the 2020 trials the standars would be set on 2017 etc. a runner below these standards would have a much better chance of being a footnote in track history by having been lets say the one, paula radcliffe, meseret defar, tirunesh dibaba, flanagan, or whoever, paced off of when the new world record is set. that would be better than finishing back in the pack of a trials they really had no business being in.
            flojo's 100 meter record is 10.49, but if a man runs that time or slower he has no business running the trials for the usa team, same should go for the marathon.
            my opinion.

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            • #7
              I am not a big fan of irrelevant data, Marlow. You state that "hasn't the standard of performance of USA marathoners been decreasing since the 1980s" and I want to disprove that myth.

              In your sacred 1984, American men placed 11th (Pfitzinger), 15th (Salazar) and DNF (Tuttle) at the Los Angeles Olympics.

              In your decrepid 2008, American men placed 9th (Ritzenhein), 10th (Hall), and 22nd (Sell) at the Beijing Olympics.

              So, which year resulted in superior performances by "USA marathoners"?

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              • #8
                You make a good point CR, but . . . my 'data' is hardly irrelevant. The standard - across the board - has fallen. The Big Meet performance is very good, but we're talking about the depth, specifically in conducting the Oly Trials. Ignore depth at your future peril.

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                • #9
                  I am not sure if we lack depth... America has rarely been deeper over 3000-10,000 meters. I believe the American kids are just focusing on the track right now and have no desire to move up to the Marathon until the Olympic cycle nears...

                  Does anyone have results from the 1984 Olympic Trials Marathon and is able to compare with the results of the 2008 Olympic Trials? Actually, I just found them, so...

                  1984 3rd Place Time, 2:11:50 (Tuttle)
                  2008 3rd Place Time, 2:11:40 (Sell)

                  1984 10th Place Time, 2:16:02 (Rauning)
                  2008 10th Place Time, 2:15:27 (Hartmann)

                  1984 15th Place Time, 2:17:54 (Wills)
                  2008 15th Place Time, 2:16:54 (Sundell)

                  1984 25th Place Time, 2:18:59 (Pownall)
                  2008 25th Place Time, 2:18:25 (Wagner)

                  I think the depth is there, especially when these guys decide to line up and make a run for the Olympics... back in 1984 in the NCAA you could probably run 8:05 for 3000m indoors and make Nationals at DI... in 2008, you are going to have to run sub-7:55 to make Nationals at DI!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Coach Rod
                    I am not sure if we lack depth... America has rarely been deeper over 3000-10,000 meters. I believe the American kids are just focusing on the track right now and have no desire to move up to the Marathon until the Olympic cycle nears...
                    I think the depth is there, especially when these guys decide to line up and make a run for the Olympics... back in 1984 in the NCAA you could probably run 8:05 for 3000m indoors and make Nationals at DI... in 2008, you are going to have to run sub-7:55 to make Nationals at DI!
                    Good stuff - I think this info supports my view that the MarOT can and should stay 'elitist' and have stringent eligibility criteria.

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