Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Masters Are Younger These Days

An e-mail from Chad Austin, who does the Running Minnesota website, inquired about Masters age categories. Had the Masters category of age groups dropped to all runners aged 35 and up, a five year fall from the generally recognized 40 and up age designation? There has always been a "sub Masters" category, starting at age 35 for women, but men had to wait until they were 40 to compete as Masters. Not any more.

Thomas Langenfeld, the USATF Masters Chairman, responded to Austin's question: "Masters T&F competition now starts at 35 for both men and women. Used to be 35 for women, 40 for men. Not sure how that was determined in the first place, but the Masters T&F leadership eventually decided that it was inequitable (and it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t). So what to do? Raise women to 40 or cut men to 35? The decision was to drop the men’s threshold to 35. World Masters Athletics competitions and national USATF masters competitions now start at 35 for both men and women. I think the change went into effect a couple of years ago, but is not necessarily observed in all US Masters meets."

So now, it would appear, Masters are younger than they used to be.

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