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July, 2018

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Notes form the Desk of the Chair

I hope this note finds you getting a chance to catch your breath in the midst of a busy outdoor season. While you do that, I want to say . . .

  • Thank you to those officials who worked their Association Championships. Those meets are the "grassroots" of our sport and each requires a lot of officials to run well and provide the quality opportunities to compete that those athletes deserve. The same is true of the USATF Regional Junior Olympic meets that are coming up in the next couple of weeks. I have never known those meets to turn away officials. If your Association is hosting a Regional Championship, please make yourself available to help.
  • Thank you to those officials who traveled to work the USATF Junior Championships, Senior Outdoor Championships, and Youth National Championships. I can affirm that the Junior and Senior meets were very well officiated, with few protests and many great performances. And all the reports that I have heard from the Youth National Meet have been great!
  • And best of luck to those of you who will be heading to the USATF Masters National Championship meet and USATF Junior Olympic National Championship meet later this month. Those meets feature great athletes across a wide spectrum of ages and provide a great source of experience and development for officials. I believe that every official should make the effort to officiate those meets at least once in their career.
  • Finally, be safe out there. Be aware of the safety issues that are inherent in our sport. Be watchful and proactive. Communicate with one another, as well as with volunteers, spectators, media, and anyone else who is in the area of the event. And be aware of the weather-related issues that arise during the hot summer months. Hydrate. Use sunscreen. Watch out for one another. And if the heat is getting to you, talk to your crew and find some relief.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


N.O.C. Awards Program Needs Nominations

Time is running out for submitting your nominations for the N.O.C. Awards that will be presented on Friday evening, November 30. We are seeking nominations for the Andy Bakjian (sponsored by the Southern California Association), the Horace Crow (sponsored by the Pacific Association), the John Davis Award (sponsored by the Illinois Association), the James Grey Award (sponsored by the Maine Association) and the Charles Ruter Award (sponsored by the Kentucky Association). You can visit the N.O.C. Awards webpages where you can find information on each of the awards including the nomination forms Check out the site today and please consider nominating an individual for one of these awards If you have seen someone that should be considered, please take the time to fill out the appropriate nomination form and submit it the Awards Chair.


National Official’s Hall of Fame Update

The nominations are now set for voting for the National Officials Hall of Fame for 2018. The winners will be inducted during the Friday night banquet that will be held during the USATF Annual Meeting to be held in Columbus, Ohio.

The candidates are in alphabetically order:

  • John Blackburn
  • Ron Boemker
  • John Chaplin
  • Marty Goldberg
  • Harold Leonard
  • Bill Mongovan
  • Dennis Olafson
  • Bill Reeves
  • John Shirey
  • Eric Smith
  • Bob Springer
  • John Stephens
  • Elinor Tootle

Please plan on getting your ticket and join us for an evening that provides our officials their rewards for hard work on and off of the field with the various awards given and the induction into the Hall of Fame for some of the above individuals.

Karen Krsak
Chair, National Officials Hall of Fame


Best Practices

There have been delays in getting some materials posted to the Best Practices library. But, we recently posted 23 updated or new items – in Throws, High Jump, Pole Vault, and Horizontal Jumps categories. Take a look at this link  to see what’s new. As always, if you have an idea for a needed correction, or for a new document, send that to the Best Practices Editor, Rich Schornstein.


Annual Meeting

Just a note to let you know this year’s USATF Annual Meeting will again be held in Columbus, Ohio, from Nov 28 to Dec 2. Details have yet to be posted to the USATF site, but mark your calendars.



Many officials are working summer national championship meets, and all will receive an evaluation of their work – for use by the USATF Selection Committee for future years’ events, and for feedback to the rated official. See full details on the current evaluation process at this link.


Background Checks

Remember that an NCSI background check is required to become and remain certified, and that they are valid for 2 years from the date they’re processed. If yours is coming up on the 2 year anniversary, you should get a notice to renew, but in any event, be aware of the expiration date and the need for a new check – in order to remain certified. 


National Rain Gear and Outerwear ~ Closes Monday

The National Rain Gear and Outerwear Store, Boathouse Sports, opened Monday June 11 and will remain open thru July 9. This is your source for rain gear that truly keeps you dry on those cold rainy days. If your gear was failing you this season, make plans to visit the store during this period. You must have a current USATF Officials Certification Number to place your order. Next scheduled opening will be in September for a November delivery.


Marty’s Training Tip

Today I need to remind all of you to look out for each other. We always preach safety as our number one priority in any competition, but safety means more than making sure someone doesn’t get hit with a hammer or that an athlete doesn’t step on an improperly stored rake. What I want you to do is look out for each other as people.

It is getting hot and humid out there. We still have the regional and national JO meets to come. Numerous masters’ competitions are on tap for the remainder of the summer, and road races will start hitting us in earnest in the fall. In all of these competitions, we need to not only make sure that the athletes have water positioned in appropriate locations; we also need to ensure that our fellow officials are not suffering the effects of heat/humidity/long hours in the sun.

At the recent Junior Championships in Bloomington, we were under a warning for ozone as well as heat. The temperature was in the 90’s with (Click to continue reading)

If you have suggestions for “Training Tips”, let Marty Johnson know via email at 


Race Walk Pit Lane (aka Penalty Box) with Les Chih, Ohio Association

In the past few weeks, many people have asked about race walk's new pit lane (aka penalty box). USATF adopted the pit lane rule about 3 years ago after the IAAF rule change. The athlete needs 3 red cards from 3 different judges to enter pit lane. A fourth red card from a 4th judge is a disqualification. The old rule was 3 red cards for the DQ and no pit lane.

Dimensions for the pit lane should be no more than 10 m by approx. 4 m with an entry and exit. 4-inch orange traffic cones do a good job outlining the box. The location should be near the DQ board or 80 m from the finish line. Penalty time depends on the length of the race. Races <5001 m is 30 seconds; 10 km is 1 minute; 20 km 2 minutes; 50 km 5 minutes.

When the athlete receives his/her third red card the head judge or assistant head judge directs the athlete to the pit lane entrance.

Upon entry, the timing/recording official starts the stop watch. Example, 20 km is 2 minutes. Then, on the summary sheet, records the athlete's name, bib/hip number, time in and time out to the second. Example, enters pit 8:33:45, exits 8:35:45.

While in the pit, give the athlete instructions as to what will occur. Example, “You will be in for 2 minutes, I will give you a 1 minute notice, and then a 10 second countdown. At zero, the exit official will give you the signal to exit.” There will be no access to any assistance, water, refreshments, sponges to cool down, or chairs. They are allowed to talk to their coach. Any movement in the pit is allowed. When the athlete returns to the track, pit lane is complete.

Picture of Pit Lane at Drake University looking towards the finish line


USATF Official Spotlight - Bob Gourley, New England Association

If you have been following the hammer or the weight throw, this individual needs no introduction. He is a long time certified official, coach and statistician. Known to many for his "Gourley's List," which reports national rankings of high school hammer or weight throws. Bob has also staged an Annual Hammerama and Weightarama Event for almost twenty years creating champions and mentoring countless throws officials. He has been a one-man army on a quest to improve both the hammer and weight throws for the US.

Do you know someone that should be recognized? Drop us a note.


USATF Rule of the Month – Youth Athletics and Masters Athletics ~ Steeplechase

See Rule 169 for steeplechase course specifications 

Youth (See Rule 301) 
15-16 Division: 2000 Meters (Girls/Women - 0.762m=30" Boys/Men - 0.914m=36")
17-18 Division: 2000 Meters (Girls/Women - 0.762m=30" Boys/Men - 0.914m=36")

Masters (See Rule 332.2(j)) 
Women - All: 2000 Meters 0.762m=30"
Men - 30-59: 3000 Meters 0.914m=36"
Men - 60 and over: 2000 Meters 0.762m=30"

*The 2000 Meter Steeplechase shall have 18 hurdle jumps and 5 water jumps. The 3000 Meter Steeplechase shall have 28 hurdle jumps and 7 water jumps.


Rule Reminder – Relay Races ~ Rule 170.3

In the 4x100m, the 4x200m, the first and second exchanges in the ‘Swedish’ Medley and the outdoor Sprint Medley relays, each takeover zone shall be 30m long, of which the scratch line is 20m from the start of the zone. For the third exchange in the ‘Swedish’ Medley Relay and in the 4x400m and longer relays each exchange zone shall be 20m long of which the scratch line is the center. The zones shall start and finish at the edges of the zone lines nearest the start line in the running direction. For each exchange conducted in lanes, a designated official shall ensure that the athletes are correctly placed in their exchange zone and are aware of any applicable acceleration zone. The designated official shall also ensure that Rule 170.5 (Check Marks) is observed.

* For "Check Marks" Youth Athletic exceptions see Rule 302.2(f).


IAAF Rule of the Month – Shot Put - Rule 188.5

(Refer to USATF Rule 146.6) 

The shot shall conform to the following specifications:

Minimum weight for admission to competition and acceptance of a Record:

* For USATF, refer to Rule 188.4 which list the specifications the shot conforms to which includes additional specifications for Youth (See Rule 301) and Masters (See Rule 332.3(g)). Please note the maximum diameter for all outdoor shots used in masters competition shall be 130mm for men and 110mm for the women. 

World Para Athletics- Clothing, Shoes, Athlete Bibs, Prosthetics and Orthotics, Eye mask, Helmets - Rule 6.13

For Sport Classes T/F61-62 the actual height of an athlete in his Competition leg prostheses shall not exceed his Maximum Allowable Standing Height (MASH) in accordance with WPA Classification Rules and Regulations. The height of athletes shall be measured at the Call Room by International Classifiers or if the International Classifiers have not been appointed at the competition, by the Call Room Judges. 

COMMENT: World and Regional Records. For the purpose of record ratification, all World and Regional Records achieved by athletes in Sport Classes T61-62 must comply with Rule 51. In addition, for the purpose of ratification, all athletes in Sport Classes T61-62 shall undergo a re-measurement of their MASH which shall be conducted immediately after the competition of the relevant race.


Breaking Para News

Amendments, June 2018 - World Para Athletic Rules and Regulations 2018-2019


Did You Know?

Dr. Delano Meriwether is a well-known American physician and a former self-coached sprinter. He is known for being the first African-American student at Duke University School of Medicine, being the head of the United States Government 1976 swine flu immunization program and the 1971 US Outdoor T&F Champion in the 100 yard dash. He ran in a stunning, wind-aided clocking of nine seconds flat while wearing his “signature” hospital shirt, gold and white suspenders and swimming trunks. An injury prevented him from being selected for the 1972 and 1976 US Olympic Team. For a number of years he ran in masters events and his 200 meter run of 20.8 seconds in 1978 is still a current national record in the 35-39 age group.

For those who follow pageants, one of his daughters (Nana Meriwether), a former professional volleyball player was crowned Miss USA 2012 when Miss Rhode Island won Miss Universe.


Stay Hydrated


Important Links

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Announcements for the Newsletter

If you have an item you would like included in the newsletter, please send your submissions to The submission deadline is the 25th of each month in order to be included in the subsequent issue. We will accept announcements, articles and other news-type items that are national in scope. Local announcements and opinion pieces will not be included. Please be aware that all submissions are subject to approval by the N.O.C. Executive Committee.


In Need of Officials?

If you are the official’s coordinator for a national championship or major regional meet and would like to have it listed on our calendar, please visit our new Applications page ( and submit it. All applications are subject to review before posting.

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