Marathon Management

IAAF Road Race Labels – A Quick Primer

By December 21, 2018 No Comments
IAAF Road Race Labels

Image Courtesy: IAAF

Recently the Tata Mumbai Marathon was certified as a Gold Label Road Race by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF). A lot of us read the news but do we understand what that means and also how a race receives that certification from the IAAF.

IAAF Label Road Races works as a certification system for organisers having reached world-class excellence in global sporting significance, organisational quality, athletes’ safety and compliance with the IAAF Rules and Regulations. All the races approved by the IAAF and its member federations are taken into consideration for this evaluation. These races are all listed in the IAAF Calendar. There are three types of labels that a road race can be granted –

  • IAAF Road Race Gold
  • IAAF Road Race Silver
  • IAAF Road Race Bronze

Labels are granted based on an evaluation of the previous edition of the race. The present regulations, therefore, define the criteria for the inclusion of road races in the upcoming Calendar.

Who can apply?

The following categories of races can apply for a Label:

  • Marathons
  • Half Marathons
  • ‘Other races’, which includes:
    • Races over the following official distances for which World Records are
      recognised (see IAAF Rule 261): 10km – 15km – 20km – 25km – 30km.
    • ‘Classical races’ over non-standard distances.

Labels are granted to races, not to events. In case of an event encompassing multiple races, organisers shall not use a Label in conjunction with any race or distance other than the one having obtained the Label, nor in conjunction with editions of the races other than the one having obtained the Label.

Requirements of a Road Race to apply

These criteria must be fulfilled in order to apply for a label certification from IAAF.

  1. All IAAF Label Road Races must have an ‘international elite field’ with a minimum of 5 men and 5 women from the relevant level as defined below. Such athletes must compete with a bonafide effort.
  2. The IAAF in its sole discretion may determine if an athlete competed with a bonafide effort.
  3. In Gold and Silver Label Races, this elite field must count at least 5 different nationalities (example: elite men from 3 different countries and elite women from 2 different countries). In Bronze Label Races, a minimum of 4 different nationalities must be represented.
  4. Single-gender elite invitational races must have an elite field with a minimum of 5 athletes from the relevant level as defined below. Such athletes must represent at least 5 countries in Gold and Silver Label Races, and at least 4 in Bronze Label Races.

It is strongly recommended that races engage more athletes than just the bare minimum required for a given Label status. The IAAF may nominate one or more observer(s) and/or one Technical Delegate (TD) to attend races that have applied for or have been awarded a Label. The observer(s) and/or the TD will ensure compliance with the IAAF Label Road Race Regulations and may also be available to assist the race organisation if such assistance is requested by the Race Director.

General Standards for Race organisation

Races must respect all national and local laws and bylaws and co-operate fully with local authorities, police and health administrations to ensure the smooth conduct of the race, the safety and security of all participants and spectators and the minimum disruption to local residents.

  1. Medical – A Medical Director should be identified, and his/her contact details transmitted to the Technical Delegate should the IAAF appoint one for the race.
  2. Anti-Doping – All tests shall be conducted in accordance with the IAAF Anti-Doping Regulations at the expense of the race organiser.
  3. Technical and Measurement – Courses must hold a valid IAAF/AIMS international measurement certificate valid at least through race day.
  4. Road Closure –  The whole course must be closed to vehicular traffic, with the exclusion of official vehicles,
    for the duration of the event until the published cut-off time.
  5. Insurance – Race Organisers shall subscribe to an appropriate third party liability insurance policy to cover
    the risks for which the race organisation may be held liable, including any accident which might occur to athletes and officials.
  6. Pacing – Pacemakers are authorised and shall be clearly identified through a distinctive uniform
    and/or the word ‘PACE’ on their bib, as well as their identifying bib name or number; they are available to all participants able to run at the given tempo.
  7. Refreshment Stations – Water and refreshments shall be provided free of charge for all participants on the course and at the finish area.
  8. Timing Processing –  Races must provide fully electronic timing by transponders to all finishers. Races shall email the official results of the competition for the top 20 male and top 20 female finishers to the IAAF immediately following the completion of the competition in a single PDF file containing both men and women results.

Significant changes have been made to the regulations for IAAF Label road races from 2019 to improve the quality of events for the athletes who take part and the fans that follow them. A new category of Platinum has also been included. The new regulations will apply to all races in 2020. A ‘continental’ quota for Platinum and Gold applications is also introduced to give a boost to the development of local elite athletes.

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