International Ultrarunners Without a World Championship Race For The Second Time This Year

by Icarus Florida UltraFest

“It is with great regret that the IAU must announce the cancellation of the 2014 24 Hour IAU World Championships. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control, the host organizers indicated that it would not be possible to continue with the event in 2014,” read the 7/22/2014 post on the International Associations of Ultrarunning’s website.

The post went on to apologize to runners — especially after the cancellation of the 2013 100K World Championships. Well aware that several ultra distance runners were disgruntled not only with the history of late race cancellations — late when you consider that many of these athletes begin training for such an event as much as a year out — the IAU held a meeting to discuss the process by which World Championship event venues are chosen and allocated.

However, the outcome was not favorable to the many runners who have titles to defend. Runners of each national team have to train and qualify years in advance, then they have to prepare logistics for the race and most importantly to maintain a racing/training schedule at least 1 year long to put them at the top of their performance during the championship period. Now they have nowhere to run. That is because the IAU will now host World Championship on alternating years. So there will be no 24 Hour World Championship this year. Instead runners will have to wait until April of 2015 to compete at the Championships which will be held in Turin, Italy if no other problems arise.

The US National Team composed of Jon Olsen, John Dennis, John Cash, Harvey Lewis, Olivier Chaigne, Joe Fejes, Sabrina Little, Suzanna Bon, Katalin Nagy, Mary Johnstone, Connie Gardner and Traci Falbo are left without words. They have been looking to compete with super star athletes such as Szilvia Lubics of the Hungarian Team, Ivan Cudin of the Italian Team, Florian Reus of the German Team, Robert Boersma of the Dutch Team and so many others left now only with traveling plans for Taiwan.

While IAU president Dirk Strumane assures runners that “measures are being put in place to prevent a recurrence,” he did state that the application has been revised and that from now on the IAU will appoint a championship delegate to each event once a championship race has been awarded to an event organizer.

So back to the drawing board for many runners as the chance to compete a the pinnacle of their sport will have to wait another year. Many, like Lubics, will likely try to find an alternate race, or perhaps something to prepare them for the April, 2015 Championships. Thankfully, there are a few to choose from in the same period of time, like the Icarus Florida UltraFest, in Fort Lauderdale USA, a new six day race, offering 24hour races as well, just announced and hosted by the International 100+ UltraRunning Foundation, Inc. According to Andrei Nana, the event organizer, “The course is certified, a 1.03km loop, paved, flat and for the most part shaded. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 60sF at night and mid 70sF at day time, making the race and course perfect for records. We will even offer special discounts to all affected athletes.”

While there may be no 24 Hours IAU World Championships this year, perhaps there will be some records set.

References:

International Association of Ultrarunning website: http://www.iau-ultramarathon.org/

International 100+ UltraRunning Foundation, Inc., website: www.internationalultrarunning.com

Icarus Florida UltraFest website: www.icarusfloridaultrafest.com