Sunday, January 12, 2014

Some passed and some were defeated at USATF LDR rule change meeting.

Published by the DAILY RECORD of Morris County, New Jersey
On Sunday, January 12, 2014
Copyright, Madeline Bost, 2014


Runners who follow USATF long distance running and who participate as individuals and or on teams may be surprised when the 2014 rules are posted on the association website.

Proposed rules that were considered shoe-ins did not pass and those considered to not have a snowball’s chance in July went through with little debate.  What happened!

Let’s just say that time has a way of ameliorating things.  That is why it is helpful to count to ten, or to sleep on it.  The proposed changes are presented at the September meeting for the very reason that all who are voting may need time to study and decided if the change would be beneficial or harmful.

 Knee jerk reactions can sometimes be the wrong reaction.  Take for instance adding the mile distance to the long distance running grand prix.  Obviously a mile is far from long distance.  On the other hand, what harm can it do to allow a runner’s score in a mile be one of the three needed in the Category One division of the New Balance Grand Prix?

At the Tuesday meeting of the long distance running committee the vote to allow the mile was only briefly debated.  When the vote was taken the mile was approved.  Yes, there are some restrictions.  Only one mile race can be counted.  The other two must be longer – generally that will be 5K.  This will also apply to the Mini-One grand prix.

A proposed rule to restrict the return of an item that was defeated previously to a mandatory two year wait was defeated.

Two changes concerning the number of members on a team were passed.  The open women’s teams that had required a minimum of four women will now require five women in parity with the open men’s teams.  In the M60 division, a minimum of four men will now be required, up from three.  That change received more scrutiny with concern that teams would not be able to field four men.  Some teams had only three men on their teams in the previous season.  The opposing view was that if four were required the teams would manage to find four.

Drop or not Drop.  That was the big question of the night.  Should all the teams drop their poorest score in the team grand prix?  Until 2013 that was the policy.  At this same meeting in 2013 the vote had been close with only a one person margin to count all race scores. 

The issue was brought out for 2014 to see if the committee wanted to revert to the old way or to go forward with all race scores counting.  So it was expected to draw plenty of debate and that it did but the sentiment now supported the change that was made in 2013.  There will be no Dropping.

The first rule change on the agenda at the meeting addressed that very close vote in 2013 when a change was made with a one vote majority.  A proposed change to require a 60% majority was met with some resistance, but in the end a majority that just happened to be more than 60% voted to require the “super” majority.  The irony of the change was that in every instance with the new rule in place, each vote, whether to approve or defeat did meet the requirement.  A show of hands vote was taken in each instance.

In other business the Fast Five Summer Series that had been imagined in 2013 but not implemented was introduced by LDR chair Ed Neighbour.  It will consist of five races in June, all being either 5K or five miles and the new mile race, the College Avenue Mile.  The date for the mile race is still being determined.  To be scored in the series a runner can compete in all five but only the best four will be counted toward the final tally.  This makes sense since the month of June will be loaded with the five races.  Runners can be expected to miss one of them.

The open men and women will be scored based on their actual times in the races, but the masters runners will have scores determined based on their age grade percentages.  There will be no individual age divisions in the series. 

Race Results can often be found at or at 
A calendar of USATF sanctioned events can be found at or at for running and tri and biathlon events.
Contact Madeline Bost at

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