| 17 Feb 2003
AMERICAN RUNNER LOSES OUT AS THE RULES ARE BENT TO BENEFIT JAPANESE RUNNER
American ultrarunner, Ann Trason, lost out on the world 100km road "best" as recognized by the International Association of Athletic Federations [IAAF] as that organization recently decided to discard its established guidelines and recognise a Japanese mark instead.
Trason's mark was set in international competition and fullfilled all the previously accepted criteria for a world road record. She was tested for drugs and her mark was set on a loop course that had no separation between the start and finish. The course on which she set the mark was measured by an IAAF Grade A measurer who was present and able to validate the course that day.
Heretofore, marks made on courses whose start and finish lie more than 30% of the race distance apart have not been considered eligible for records. Now the IAAF has thrown out this scientifically-determined criterion at the insistence of the Japanese President of AIMS (Association of International Marathons). The Japanese 100km mark was set by Tomoe Abe on a course with at least a 40% separation between start and finish. There is considerable evidence that this mark was wind-aided since more than 70 km of the race was run with a tail-wind.
It should be noted that the criteria used by the IAAF in recognising the Japanese performance are in direct conflict with those in the Ultra Marathon Race Handbook, the Ultrarunning rule book that the IAAF itself recommends in its own Distance Running Manual. Ann Trason's mark meets all the criteria listed in the Handbook.
It is highly likely that this decision will be to the financial deteriment of Ann Trason, in terms of all-expenses paid invitations to races, endorsements, and similar benefits. Road-record expert Ken Young warned recently that "placing technical decisions of this nature in the hands of IAAF politicians can only be detrimental to the sport of road-racing." Holding a world road record confers status and can bring financial advantage; losing that status and financial advantage through the whim of official bureaucracy can only lead to controversy and litigation.
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