What’s Happening With the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials?

Whereas all eyes within the operating group are on the World Championships for the subsequent 10 days, time is ticking for one merchandise of significance for the American marathoning group: a web site—and format—for the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials.

USA Monitor & Discipline (USATF), which picks the host metropolis for the Trials, mentioned in its request for proposal that went out to host cities that it anticipated to call the town by July 14, though it mentioned that timeline was “topic to vary .”

That day got here and went with no announcement. USATF didn’t return three emails from Runner’s World asking about it.

Here is what we do know concerning the Marathon Trials—and what is perhaps inflicting the delay.

The Trials web site announcement is late

Not solely has USATF missed its personal revealed deadline, they’re months behind the place they had been in 2020. These Trials went to Atlanta, and the announcement got here out on April 23, 2018, for a race to be held February 29, 2020. Atlanta organizers had 22 months to drag off the occasion for about 700 runners.

USATF has mentioned in its bidding doc that the 2024 Trials needs to be held between January and March 2024. Even when USATF awards a web site by September 1, that host committee may have between 16 and 19 months to plan and execute the race.

The fields might be smaller for 2024

The qualifying occasions to get into the Trials in Atlanta had been simpler than they’re now. In 2020, a girl wanted to run 2:45 or quicker for a marathon, or 1:13 or quicker for a half marathon, which is how Molly Seidel certified. (She made her marathon debut on the Trials, completed second, and went on to win bronze in Sapporo, Japan, on the Video games delayed one 12 months by the pandemic.) In 2020 males wanted to run 2:19 or 1:04.

These occasions, introduced final December, are harder now. Girls should run 2:37 or 1:12, and males want a 2:18 or 1:03. To this point, 53 males and 43 girls have certified with marathons, however the window for half marathon qualifying hasn’t opened but.

With the stricter requirements, the host will doubtless have 400–500 runners, not the 700 there have been in Atlanta. Loads of athletes are going for it, nevertheless. At Grandma’s Marathon in June, as an illustration, 24 males and 14 girls hit the qualifying time.

Two cities have expressed curiosity

Officers from Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Orlando, Florida, have confirmed to Runner’s World that they might be inquisitive about internet hosting the Trials. However web site visits—when USATF workers and volunteers journey to these locations to judge the appropriateness of the situation—haven’t but occurred.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee and World Athletics are making it troublesome

What’s inflicting doubt concerning the Trials is that there is no such thing as a assure that if USATF hosts a Trials race, the highest three finishers would make the Olympic group.

The highest-three-means-everything American system is easy and compelling, and it is massively common amongst athletes and followers of the game. It does not matter what marathoners’ credentials are coming into the race. They should be at their finest on that day and end within the high three to get to go to the Video games.

That system is in jeopardy, nevertheless. It stems from the Worldwide Olympic Committee—which is making an attempt to scale back the dimensions of the marathon fields on the Olympics, mentioned Blake Boldon, the boys’s lengthy distance operating committee chair for USATF. The lads’s marathon area in 2016 was 150 runners. For 2024, the IOC desires it to be round 80. In different phrases, as common because the marathon is worldwide, the IOC desires to scale back the dimensions of the occasion by 46 %.

So World Athletics, the governing physique of monitor worldwide, is making it harder to qualify for the Olympics. They’ve imposed on its member federations (of which USATF is one) a system of Olympic qualifying that is a mix of occasions and world rankings. And its most up-to-date communication on the matter wasn’t precisely clear.

Specialists who observe these developments intently consider that American marathoning on the ladies’s aspect is deep sufficient to benefit a Trials race. In different phrases, there are many American girls who can meet the necessities of World Athletics, and a race could be one of the best ways to type out which three ought to go.

The lads’s aspect, nevertheless, just isn’t as deep as the ladies’s. If solely three or 4 males had been to have with World Athletics’ Olympic qualifying time (these occasions haven’t but been launched) and be ranked extremely sufficient, would it not be value holding a Trials to find out which three go to the Video games?

And in case you’re Chattanooga or Orlando, would you need to shell out $1 million or extra to host an occasion that may not truly decide the Olympic group?

Chattanooga appears recreation

In a dialog with Runner’s WorldTim Morgan, the chief sports activities officer of Chattanooga Sports activities, which is a division of Chattanooga Tourism, expressed his enthusiasm for the Trials as a approach to showcase the town and space.

“We’re within the enterprise of bringing occasions to city and maximizing the expertise related to it, so when individuals go away, they need to come again for a leisure vacation or one thing prefer it,” he mentioned.

Chattanooga Sports activities has hosted half Ironman triathlon competitions and high-level endurance biking occasions. Additionally it is the organizer of the Chattanooga Marathon, which takes place the primary weekend in March. If the town had been awarded the Trials, the Trials would doubtless be the day earlier than the Chattanooga Marathon—two separate occasions that will fall on the identical weekend, as Atlanta did in 2020 with the Trials on Saturday and the Atlanta Marathon on Sunday.

Morgan will get how, for many of the area, simply qualifying for the Trials is a crowning achievement and mentioned his metropolis is in an identical place. “Chattanooga is rarely going to host the Olympics,” he mentioned. “But when we had a possibility to be a part of the Olympic motion, by way of US Workforce Trials for the marathon—we might like to be a part of [it].”

He isn’t daunted by the World Athletics qualifying roadblocks, saying he has “religion within the governing physique of USA Monitor & Discipline and all the volunteer committees which might be offering suggestions and enter to make sure that the US’s Olympic motion is robust and rewarding to the elite athletes and likewise to the passionate fans.”

Orlando official Jon Hughes wrote in an electronic mail to Runner’s World, “You’re right that Orlando is .” He wrote that they’re within the strategy of formulating their response to the RFP and directed additional inquiries to USATF.

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