The Morning Run is a daily compilation of links, news and commentary.
Yesterday, Amby Burfoot of Runner’s World suggested changing the qualification procedure for the marathon in the Olympics. Rather than base it on the three-per-nation limit, Burfoot wants a system where the best marathoners, regardless of nationality, all compete. His full proposal is here, but the result for 2012 would be a field of seventeen Kenyans, two Ethiopians and one American. By now, we are all well versed in the Kenyan and Ethiopian dominance of the event and how the Kenyan team this year will have to leave off several sub 2:06 performers.
Does the fact that the Olympics won’t have the deepest and best marathon in the world bother me? Not entirely, because the Olympics aim to be about the participation of nations, rather than the greatest congregation of talent. However, the real issue I have with Burfoot’s idea is that it doesn’t expand the field enough.
The tweak I would make to the race would allow Kenya (and other power countries) more entries than they hold currently, preserve the current state of the race and add a team component. Here’s how it would work:
-Nation’s enter as five member teams. This allows for two extra entries than the current system. Does this mean there will still be deserving Kenyans and Ethiopians that will be left home? Certainly, but it is better to apologize to the 6th best than the 4th.
-In order to qualify as a team, at least 3 from your country must have met the “A” standard. When looking at the numbers (keep in mind I did this just looking at 2011 times and for just the men’s field), only nine teams would qualify if all five members had to meet the “A” standard (Kenyan, Ethiopia, USA, Eritrea, Morocco, Japan, Russia, Poland, France), but if I opened it up to only three needing the standard, then nine more nations became eligible. In these nations they often had several entrants that were just off the 2:15 “A” standard, so I didn’t feel that they overall competitiveness would be impacted by the presence of their 4th and 5th team members.
-Individuals from non-qualifying nations can still qualify by meeting the “A” standard.
-The team competition would be scored just like a cross country meet, except only the first four would count. Medals would be distributed for the team competition as well as the individuals .
Obviously, there are many minor changes that could be made depending on the number of qualifiers and how many make the “A” standard on a given year. If 18 teams made it, that would mean 90 runners would be a part of the team competition and it would still leave plenty of room for deserving individuals to represent their country. The drama would extend from the front of the pack all the way to the back, and the US might even have a chance to snag a bronze every now and then.
The rest of The Morning Run…….
In The Sun’s article about Christine Ohuruogu, Allyson Felix says she is training for a double and is even considering racing the 100 instead of the 400, in addition to her favored 200. She was .03 from a gold last summer in Daegu in the 400 and has never been a factor in the 100, so I’m a bit doubtful that she opts for the 100.
Ken Goe’s links.
Jesse Squire delivers his college awards from the past weekend.
Comedian Eddie Izzard runs with Haile Gebrselassie and discovers that Gebreselassie, and Ethiopia, are a bit confused by barefoot running.
Revealing Q and A with Usain Bolt where you discover that his training is in fact going well and that he wants to defend his Olympic titles in London.
More Bolt, he is scheduled to race a leg of the 4 x 100 this weekend at the UTech Classic. Yohan Blake will run the 100 as well.
British marathoner Paula Radcliffe says she would be happy with a bronze at the Olympics. That should take some pressure off.
Lolo Jones may not race in her home state at next weekend’s Drake Relays.