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Men's Long Distance Running Executive Committee
November 29, 2007 (USA Track & Field Annual Meeting)
Honolulu, Hawaii

Attendees: Executive Committee Members: Glenn Latimer (Chair), Mark Winitz (Secretary), Philip Greenwald (Treasurer), Fasil Bizuneh, Dan Browne, David Coyne, Matt Gabrielson, Max King, David Martin, Tomy Sitton, Allan Steinfeld

A quorum was present.

Guests: Tyler Abbott, Jim Estes, Fred Finke, (Al) Humberto Hernandez, David Katz, Bob Latham, Dave Milner, Edwardo Torres, Joe Vigil, Scott Christensen, Brian Jones, Scott Simmons


Men's LDR Chair Glenn Latimer convened the meeting at 11:09 a.m.

  1. Introductions: The Chair introduced the athletes present (Fasil Bizuneh, Dan Browne, Matt Gabrielson, Max King, Edwardo Torres) and confirmed that all athletes present want to continue as athlete representatives on the Executive Committee. Edwardo Torres will assume a spot on the Committee as of January 1, 2008.
  2. Agenda Amendments/Additions: The Secretary asked for any additions or amendments to the agenda. The agenda was approved without any additions or amendments.
  3. Approve Minutes: The Secretary asked for any amendments to the 2006 Executive Committee minutes. The minutes were approved without any amendments.
  4. Continuing the MLDR Path: The Chair reported that our men's long distance runners and teams had a very good year. The depth in the men's LDR ranks continues to grow and other countries are taking U.S distance running very seriously.
  5. Men's Marathon Olympic Trials: The Chair reported that the U.S. Olympic Team Trials-Men's Marathon in New York City was a success, overshadowed by sadness as Ryan Shay is no longer with us. The times and performances were superb. Allen Steinfeld commented that a major city has brought attention to the Trials that it deserves. He said that USOC sponsorship branding issues prevented the New York Road Runners Club from achieving all of its goals. The NYRRC spent $1.2 million on the Trials event in a net loss endeavor. Discussion followed.

    The Chair thanked the Executive Committee for its efforts in a successful Trials. Fasil Bizuneh said that the exciting atmosphere and course was a factor in athletes competing well. Dan Browne said that he "felt like a rock star" as a Trials participant competing before so many people. He said that television coverage similar to that secured for the NYC Trials is essential for raising the profile of road racing.

    The Chair requested the Executive Committee's opinion regarding whether MLDR should continue a process of bidding for future Men's Olympic Marathon Trials or simply award the event to a major city like Boston, Chicago, or New York City because of its resounding success. Dan Browne mentioned that if it is awarded to New York City, he would like to see the Trials a part of the main New York City Marathon race to raise its profile even more. Phil Greenwald said he felt that there are other events that could do an equally good job and expressed concern about loss of focus on American runners and the Trials if the Trials are held simultaneously with the NYC Marathon.

    David Katz, who designed the Trials course, said the event was technically perfect. He recommended holding it in the same way (dedicated race and course) where the focus is entirely on the Trials athletes. Joe Vigil recommended going back to New York without a bid process, and suggested no change in format, saying that our athletes deserve dedicated attention and that they must concentrate on their own race instead of running with foreign elites. Ed Torres said he would like to see other cities given a chance to bid-with an option of going back to New York if no bids meet specific criteria. No action was taken.
  6. Headphones/MP3 Players (non-agenda item): Fred Finke reported that he, and others in the national office, are receiving criticism from race directors about the amendment to USATF Rule 144.3(b) adopted last year that prohibits the use of audio (MP3) players and similar electronic devices in road races. He also discussed liability concerns for USATF expressed by several attorneys. He said that next year a rules amendment will be submitted removing the ban in all sanctioned events except for USATF LDR championship races. A number of committee members expressed that the rule should not be imposed if it is not enforceable.

    Fred also mentioned that several people have suggested to him the creation of an LDR award in honor of Mike Long (deceased elite athlete recruiter and coordinator for Elite Racing, Inc.). No action was taken as the committee felt it was an item for the LDR Division.
  7. IAAF Elections: The Chair mentioned that Mary Wittenberg was appointed by the IAAF as a representative on the IAAF Road Running Commission In Osaka, David Katz was re-elected to the IAAF Technical Committee, but the USA nominee for the Cross Country Committee failed to get re-elected. The Chair mentioned that the issue of process for IAAF nominee elections had been raised at the USATF Board of Directors' level..
  8. USA Distance Project: The Chair asked Jim Estes to report. He said that the USATF Foundation is adopting the USA Distance Project as one of its projects for funding. Foundation board member Jack Wickens is working on LDR's behalf in this regard, including the creation of a list of expectations for training groups seeking funding.
  9. USA Teams, 2007 Review: MLDR team selectors elected not to send a team to the 2007 IAAF World Road Running Champs. They felt that we could not send a strong team or a full team (given that many top men were preparing for the U.S. marathon trials).

    Dan Browne commended the team selectors for U.S. men's recent success in international team competitions. He said that the standards of excellence have been raised for making these teams, giving athletes more incentive for achieving excellence.
  10. Joint Men's/Women's Selection Criteria ant Team Opportunities: Jim Estes will publish the selection criteria and opportunities on the USATF web site for 2008.
  11. 2008 Major International Events for Men's LDR: IAAF World Half Marathon/21K in Rio de Janeiro in October, Olympic marathon in Beijing in August, Chiba International Ekiden in November.
  12. Olympic Marathon Trials Standards: The Chair initiated a discussion regarding Olympic Trials Standards for the future. The committee agreed that a single trials standard (rather than "A" and "B" standards) is desirable for 2012, providing impetus for athletes to raise the bar. The committee agreed that the marathon trials should be for athletes who have a reasonable chance for making the U.S. Olympic team, and that times for top U.S. men in the marathon have generally been getting faster for the past several years. They projected that this trend will continue. The athletes present lobbied strongly for more stringent standards. After careful discussion among the group, Alan Steinfeld moved the following standards for the 2012 Trials: (1) sub-2:19:00 marathon, (2) sub-1:05:00 half marathon, (3) sub-28:30 10,000m on the track. The marathon and half marathon standards must be attained on USATF "record quality" courses, for which a list will be created, and the qualifying window will begin on January 1, 2010. The possibility exists for a one-day qualifying window in the fall of 2009 if the USA National Championships Marathon is held at that time. The motion was seconded and unanimously passed. These new standards will be presented to the general MLDR Meeting the next day for discussion and a vote, and if approved, will be immediately announced.
  13. Cross Country Report: The 2007 USA Cross Country Championships/World Team Trials in Boulder, CO were a success, and attracted large crowds. The full cross country report was deferred to the Men's LDR General Session.
  14. 2007 Men's LDR Committee Awards: The Secretary announced the winners of the annual awards bestowed by Men's LDR (see MLDR, Session 2 minutes for details).
  15. 2007 Men's LDR Championships: Bob Latham reported on the 2007 MLDR championships. He also discussed the 2008 MLDR championship selections and beyond There are no bidders for a 2008 men's road10K or marathon road relay to date. A motion was made to accept the 2008 championship slate, seconded, and unanimously passed (see MLDR, Session 1 minutes for details).

    Brian Jones provided a summary of the USATF AADP program in 2007. The Chair mentioned that in some cases Associations are sending athletes to AADP program championships who are not of "developmental" quality. Full discussion deferred to the MLDR General Session (see MLDR, Session 1 minutes for details).
  16. USATF Bylaws and Rules Amendments: Phil Greenwald provided a brief report. Full report deferred to the MLDR General Session after the Law and Legislation and Rule Committees meet (see MLDR, Session 1 minutes for details).
  17. Finance/Budget: Phil Greenwald (Treasurer) reported that the proposed 2008 budget for MLDR is $19,000, an increase from the 2007 budget by $1,000.
  18. Coaching Education: Scott Christensen gave a brief report.
  19. Development: The following clinics and distance summits were briefly discussed:
    • Clinics preparing for Osaka (2007) and Beijing 2008
    • High Performance Distance Summit (Dec. '07, Las Vegas)

The meeting adjourned at 1:03 p.m.

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