USATF Preserves Masters Age Divisions
The American Ultrarunners Association's (AUA's) recently announced age increase in their masters division does not effect the standard USATF age-groups that are used for ultra distance national championships, age-group record keeping, and awards. Masters ultrarunners will continue to be scored and recognized in 5-year age-groups beginning with age 40 at USATF events and the USATF Road Running Information Center, the official record keeper for long distance running, will continue to keep records for the standard ultra distances in 5-year masters age-groups. AUA's masters age division begins at either 45 or 50 years of age, depending on the race distance, while USATF recognizes masters runners who are age 40 and over. AUA President Kevin Setnes' announced AUA's masters age increase in the February 2004 issue of National Masters News.
AUA Masters Age-Group Restrictions Tabled by USATF
AUA proposed this change, that will be in effect only at AUA events, to the USATF MUT Running Council in November 2003 inviting MUT to follow AUA's lead in this area. MUT Chair Nancy Hobbs tabled the proposal, as it required a change to USATF rules and the MUT Running Council was not convinced that there was any evidence to support the change that would exclude masters ultrarunners aged 40 to 49 years old from awards, records, and recognition. Such a change would adversely affect younger masters who would have less incentive to compete in ultra distance races after they turn 40 or 45. "The negative impact of raising the master's age would create a disincentive for older athletes to stay active in their sport. A reason ultrarunners compete into their 40s is due to the masters age-group awards and the competition within those age groups. I really looked forward to turning 40 because of the new age group," states MUT Council Member Eric Clifton, 45, a highly awarded masters ultrarunner. "Having to compete with 25-year old hot shots for another 10 years would be daunting."