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Strictly by status: what are road race labels and why are they needed?

When we choose starts, especially the first ones, we want to get to the best races so that the organization is at a high level, there are many participants, fans who create the very atmosphere of a sports holiday. But how do you know which competitions cost money and effort, and which you can skip?

If you want to find a good race, you can look for reviews on the Internet or ask friends. But you can choose to start from the calendar of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which has existed since 1912, organizes competitions for professionals and amateurs, and since 2008 certifies races around the world.

Criteria for labeling

  • A Bronze, Silver or Gold label is awarded for 10 km road races, 21.1 km half marathon and 42 km marathon.
  • The race must take place at least twice to receive the status.
  • Elite runners of at least 6 men and 6 women of four different nationalities from 2 IAAF districts must participate in the competition, one of the districts must be the location of the race. For example, the top marathon runners in 2018 are men with a score of 2: 13.45 and faster and women who covered 42.2 km in 2: 36.30 in the period from January 1, 2016.
  • High level of medical care: medical assistance should be available to all race participants.
  • Doping control performed on at least 6-12 athletes (depending on race label).
  • The course was measured by the IAAF and the Association for International Marathons and Runs (AIMS) and received an International Measurement Certificate.
  • From the moment of the start of the race until the closing of the finish town, car traffic on the distance is prohibited. To ensure safety, intersections must be controlled by police and / or traffic police.
  • A vehicle must drive in front of the leaders of the race, which will not allow you to go astray and will show the time from the start.
  • Pacemakers are allowed to participate in the race in distinctive running uniforms, but no more than 3 people per group with one set time.
  • There are free food points on the track.
  • The results of the competition are recorded by electronic time tracking systems and must be available to the media, participants and spectators in the shortest possible time.
  • A race with a gold label must be broadcast in the host country and in at least five other countries, for races with lower status the broadcast requirements are relaxed.
  • An application for a label must be approved by the IAAF member federation in whose territory the competition will take place. You must submit an application no later than 30 days before the start in order for the association to providea delegate who will help the organizers comply with all the conditions of the assigned status.

How do labels differ from each other?

To simplify, the whole difference between gold, silver and bronze labels in the number of elite athletes and their speed indicators, the number of doping tests and the breadth of coverage race in the media. For amateur athletes, this is not essential.

What is the difference between a competition without a label and a race marked by the IAAF?

The criteria of the International Association of Athletics Federations are reasonable and logical, so they try to organize each race better than before to make participants and fans comfortable. If the number of press conferences and doping tests can be increased without significant costs, then not every race can pay for participation and offer a worthy prize fund to elite athletes, and these costs, according to the IAAF rules, are the responsibility of the organizers.

The IAAF label guarantees the participant at least a correctly measured distance, timely medical assistance and water at all refreshment points - for this you can focus on the status of the race, this is especially true for those runners who want to attend the largest competitions and feel the atmosphere of the holiday. At the same time, the absence of a label does not mean bad organization: many Russian starts are held at a first-class level and leave good memories (in 2018, no road race in Russia received an IAAF label).

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