The American Masters Track and Field Committee has added a 25 to 29 age category to their roster. The addition of this new “pre-masters” age group is a push to retain post-collegiate non-elite, intramural, and recreational athletes to the sport of track and field. This group of runners will be able to compete at USATF masters meets, but not internationally, as those competitions only begin at age 35.
Bridging the gap
When runners finish college or university, there are limited options for them to pursue track and field at a non-professional level. Most either leave the sport, or move to the roads. This new age category (which won’t be used by professional runners) will serve as a way for track and field runners to remain competitive and have the option to run at a championship, without running professionally. This isn’t a category for all runners aged 25-29, it’s for those who aren’t national or international calibre, but still want to train and compete.
A little young?
Giving a 25-year-old the title of “masters athlete” does seem a little silly. With lots of opportunities for competition at local twilight meets, it’ll be interesting to see if having a championship to train for will increase participation from this group of runners. The 25-29 age category was intended to be rolled out for the 2020 season, but instead, will likely be pushed to 2021.