“WEIGHT CLASS DIVISION” categories, no longer called “Clydesdale” and “Athena”. The post of March 30, 2017 featured the Williams Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa OK because it had swept the 100 Half Marathon Club’s annual survey awards, winning many of the categories.
Because registration for the 2017 mid-November event was to open the next day, there was a bit of discussion about the race and possible reasons why it was so popular amongst this group’s members. That “Clydesdale” and “Athena” classes were to be awarded was mentioned with a link to an article explaining a bit about the topic.
Since writing that post I discovered the linked RunnersWorld.com article had been written before rule changes were made by the USA Triathlon organization (USAT; not the USA Track and Field organization, USATF), which determines eligibility. Also, the rules language had also been updated by USAT.
The current rules do not employ the names “Clydesdale” or Athena” but more descriptively refer to them within the context of a “weight class division”, with “weight class categories for men and women”, in age categories of “39 years of age and under and 40 years of age and over”.
The weight requirements also changed. The current rules state that in “events where a weight class division is offered, the minimum weight shall be 220 pounds for men and 165 pounds for women, monitored by the event organizer.”
Initially, in my searching online to find the exact rules, it was not apparent TO ME that the sport of triathlon governing body (USAT) had initiated this new weight class. I stumbled on this fact after belatedly realizing the rules-making organization responsible for determining weight categories was NOT the USATF . Other online information indicated that several years ago there had been a change regarding the weight requirement and a language adjustment in this division. I needed to get the facts straight, the reason for this follow-up post .
The 2017 USA Track and Field rules do not officially identify a weight division. It seems that some event organizers of distance running events have unofficially followed the triathletes example and chosen to offer these award classes as well. As with triathletes, only distance runners who voluntarily place themselves in weight categories are identified as competing within this division.
Change comes slowly, and perhaps the rules change that abandoned using the names “Clydesdale” and “Athena” for triathlon events has not yet made it to all distance running events, as it was used in the 2017 brochure of the Route 66 races.
There are likely many opinions on whether it’s a good idea to offer a weight division in races. That’s another totally different discussion. What do you think?
To learn more about the “USA Triathlon, the National Governing Body for the sport of triathlon, and different parts of multisport” rules you can follow this link. The specific rule about age group competition that addresses Weight Class Division Is Article III, 3.2.
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EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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