Kenneth Mungara wins the Gold Coast Marathon (© Organisers)
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.
The IAAF Label Road Races programme gathers the world’s leading road races. An IAAF Label denotes high standards in event organisation, full application of the IAAF competition rules, complete support from authorities for the event, a commitment by the organiser to the advancement of the sport, and concrete steps in the global fight against doping.
The Labels also categorise the best elite races, giving athletes, fans and media guidance towards the world’s finest competitions. For events with a mass participation component, Labels also signify superior standards in safety and runner experience.
Several changes have been made to the IAAF Label regulations for 2019, including the introduction of a 'Platinum Label', the use of IAAF World Rankings to determine an athlete's Label status, and allowing 5km races to apply for Labels.
“This is a milestone for the IAAF and the global road racing community," said IAAF President Sebastian Coe. "It’s a stepping stone towards 2020, when we will have an even more coherent structure of races, with better defined tiers to guide fans and athletes, and with integrity measures that are proportionate to the level of the competition. In 2019 we will be reducing the pool of athletes who hold the coveted 'Gold Label Status' to ensure the highest-earning pros are subject to out-of-competition drug-testing programmes.
“I’d like to thank the AIU and Abbott World Marathon Majors for their guidance in this area, and stress that these changes are being introduced in cooperation with race organisers and athlete representatives, who have been very supportive all the way. A more robust regulatory framework for athlete representatives is also in the making. The principle that it is the duty of all the stakeholders in our sport to assist in the fight against doping is now widely accepted, and it’s the cornerstone of these changes."
The 2019 regulations will apply to any road races seeking Label status for 2020. The full set of new regulations can be seen here, but the key changes are summarised below:
• In cooperation with Abbott World Marathon Majors, a Platinum Label has been introduced. It will be granted from 2020 to races meeting the Platinum requirements in 2019.
• 5km road races can now apply for IAAF Labels.
• An athlete’s position in the IAAF World Rankings will determine their Gold/Silver/Bronze status for Label races. Athletes can have different statuses for various event groups, for example they could have Gold status for the marathon and Silver status for 10km.
• There will be smaller pools of Gold Label athletes. Having fewer athletes at the very top of the game will help fans to become better acquainted with the world’s best road runners and it’s an intermediate step towards 2020, when all gold label athletes will be part of out of competition testing pools, a move that will strengthen the integrity of the event.
• All label races must have a minimum of six men and six women from the pool of athletes whose status corresponds to the Label being applied for. This will ensure that a Gold Label race, for example, has at least 12 of the world’s 300 best specialists at that particular distance.
• Previous rules obliged label race organisers to have elite athletes from at least five countries. From 2019 that rule will no longer exist, meaning races can, a) focus on building stronger elite fields and b) aspire to a label even with domestic elite athletes who are on the pool of the required status.
• A ‘continental’ quota for Platinum and Gold applications is also introduced to give a boost to the development of local elite athletes.