Update on Athlete Selection for 2020 U.S. Mountain Running Teams

Written by USATF Mountain/Ultra/Trail Council members Nancy Hobbs, Richard Bolt and Jason Bryant. For questions please contact U.S. Mountain Running Team staff members Richard Bolt and Jason Bryant.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many areas of daily life as well as created much uncertainty about upcoming mountain and trail races. USA Track & Field (USATF) and the Mountain/Ultra/Trail (MUT) Council will continue to monitor the situation both nationally and internationally to produce the best possible return to competition plan that keeps our athletes, volunteers, coaches and spectators safe. In an effort to keep elite MUT athletes informed about 2020 international team selection, USA Track & Field’s MUT Council is providing the following update.

As of today, the World Mountain Running Championships, World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships and International U18 Mountain Running Cup are still on schedule as planned and USATF has not put any limitations on U.S. team participation. With these fall championships still months away, the situation and decision on U.S. team participation will continue to be monitored. The MUT Council wants our athletes to know that we are working to maintain competitive opportunities while balancing various issues of societal health and prudence.

Listed below are the international mountain running events scheduled to take place in 2020 and the selection criteria for U.S. teams. Please note that current criteria could change if selection races are cancelled.

On selection for the International U18 Mountain Running Cup (Oct. 17 – Ambleside, United Kingdom):
All team spots are selected by a resume submission process. The selection criteria are published here.

On selection for the World Mountain Running Championships (Nov. 13 – Lanzarote, Spain):
All team spots will be selected at the USATF Mountain Running Championships (Gnar Gnar Race) at Mt. Hood, Oregon on August 16. Currently this event is scheduled to take place. More information here.

On selection for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships (Nov. 14 – Lanzarote, Spain):
Standard A does not change. For Standard B, the Broken Arrow Skyrace selection event has been canceled. Ragged 50K / USATF 50km Championship already had a condition that the winner be within 5% of the course record to achieve an automatic team position. Considering that athletes may be limited in travel into late summer and early fall, no changes in selection races are being planned and the 5% condition for Ragged 50K will remain. Therefore, most team positions will be made based on running resume. In considering resumes, previous years performances will need to be factored in the decision with the limited opportunities in 2020. Athletes may be asked for more detailed training information/data to know that athletes current fitness. More information here.

Furthermore, MUT Council would like for athletes to be aware that additional requirements could be imposed for travel and lodging. These could come from USATF, the championship organizer, local municipalities, state authorities and/or national authorities.

We will also be working with the USATF national office to confirm budgets for each or our teams and share that information with athletes as we have it.

The MUT Council and USATF will continue to closely monitor all developments. Know that any decision has many factors involved and is very dynamic with changes seen on a weekly, if not daily basis. Our goal is keep athletes informed on the current situation. Be assured that the MUT Council is working to stay prepared for however the COVID-19 pandemic shapes the future of our sport and upcoming international team events.

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