The IAAF wants change and it will not be long before
''Joe Blow'' can compete in a world championship event
alongside elite runners.
Sport Otago Coach Force director Mike Weddell was the Oceania
delegate at the IAAF masters committee meeting in Monaco
earlier this month and heard the latest thrust to promote
He listened to talks by IAAF president Lamine Diack (Senegal)
and secretary-general Asser Gabriel (France), who outlined
world athletics' plans to grow the sport.
The world marathon and half-marathon championships are at
present stand-alone events.
''It's a huge amount of organisation for only 150 athletes,''
''It would not take much to make it a mass event as well.''
The IAAF bosses believe this approach would attract more
attention to the world distance running championships, which
do not receive the same publicity as track and field.
The world marathon championships could be held in conjunction
with events such as the New York or London marathons.
In New Zealand, the national championships have been held
with regular events such as the Rotorua and Southland
marathons. The IAAF wants athletics taken to the public by
holding more events at city centres and railway stations.
Double Olympic champion Valerie Adams competed in the shot
put at the ''Cloud'' in Auckland this month. Athletics Otago
holds the annual Time Buster race around the Octagon.
''It's been successful in Europe and the IAAF wants it taken
on by the rest of the world,'' Weddell said.
''A pole vault has been held at a railway station in Germany
to put the sport in the public eye.''
The IAAF wants to control all athletics events and bring
everything under one big umbrella.
''There are a few accidents of history, like Australia and
New Zealand and 20 other countries where masters, children
and seniors are all governed separately,'' Weddell said.
The IAAF believes they should all be together and is making a
big push to get them competing together in athletics events
around the world. This is done in Canterbury and Otago but it
is not the same in the North Island.
''The three different parts of the sport don't seem to get on
too well there,'' Weddell said.
''In some centres, they won't let masters compete with the
seniors, and the children are separate.''
The IAAF had a clear vision, Weddell said.
''Their philosophy is that athletics is a cradle-to-the-grave
sport. They want everyone to be treated equally.''