USATF Announces Faster Qualifying Standards of 2:18 and 2:37 for 2024 US Olympic Marathon Trials


By Jonathan Gault
December 3, 2021

On Friday, the numbers that thousands of Americans will spend over the next two years running were revealed to the world: the qualifying standards for the 2024 US Olympic Marathon trials. To qualify for the trials – which did still no date or venue – men will have to run 1:03:00 or faster in the half marathon or 2:18:00 or faster in the marathon. Women should run 1:12:00 or faster in the half marathon or 2:37:00 or faster in the marathon.

Standards are faster overall than in 2020, especially on the women’s side, where the marathon standard was previously 2:45:00. Here’s a full comparison of standards over the past three cycles:

Year Half of the men marathon men Half of women female marathon
2016 1:05:00 2:19:00 1:15:00 2:45:00
2020 1:04:00 2:19:00 1:13:00 2:45:00
2024 1:03:00 2:18:00 1:12:00 2:37:00

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The qualification period for the 2024 Trials begins on January 1, 2022, for marathon performances. For half marathon performances, the qualifying window begins on January 1, 2023. The qualifying window ends 60 days before practice, according to President of the long distance running division of the USATF Michael scott. For comparison, during the last cycle, the qualification window was already open at that time since the marathon qualification period started on September 1, 2017 and the half-marathon qualification period started on September 1, 2018. .

It was widely predicted that qualifying standards would be tightened for 2024 after the 2020 trials featured the largest field in the history of the competition. In 2020, the USATF reported that 773 athletes qualified (260 men, 513 women), of which 685 started races in Atlanta (235 men, 450 women). In particular, the standard of the women’s marathon should be lowered considerably.

Jake Riley, Galen Rupp and Abdi Abdirahman at the 2020 Trials

In 2020, the qualifying standards were 2:19:00 and 2:45:00, but the reason behind those standards was beyond the control of the USATF. Initially, the USATF had set standards of 2:18:00 and 2:43:00 for the 2016 trials, but ended up relaxing those standards at 2:19:00 2:45:00 (since the standards of entry to the US Championships cannot be faster than Olympic standards, according to the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act). The USATF kept the same standards for the 2020 trials, and those times became much easier to achieve once the carbon-plated super shoes started hitting stores in 2017. After qualifying for the US trials of 2020 had already started, World Athletics announced much stricter standards for the 2020 Olympic Marathon (2:11:30 a.m. / 2:29:30 a.m.), and although the change came too late to affect the standards for the trials 2020, he gave the USATF the freedom to impose more stringent testing standards for 2024.

How smaller would the 2020 trials have been if they had used the 2024 standards instead of the 2020 standards? We have gone through the data from the last qualifying window and the results are shown in the table below. The expected decrease in the number of skilled workers is drastic as the number of skilled women is expected to drop from 513 to 91 and that of men from 260 to 169.

Projected number of qualifiers for the Olympic Marathon Trials
2020 standards 2024 standards
Men Half 27 12
Full men 233 157
Total number of men’s qualifications 260 169
Half Women 12 8
Complete Women 501 83
Total number of female qualifications 513 91

It is a huge reduction. Only 65.0% of men would have qualified in 2020 according to the 2024 standards. On the women’s side, the gap was even greater – only 17.7% of women would have qualified according to the 2024 standards. And don’t forget that the qualifying window will also be shorter for 2024.

Talk about the new standards on our world famous fan forum / messaging: Mo: The testing standards for the 2024 Olympic Marathon have been released: 63/2: 6-6 p.m. for men, 72/2: 37: 00 for women.

Date and location of the USATF 2022 outdoor championships announced; The 10K events will be held separately at Mont SAC

In other news from the USATF annual meeting in Orlando, Agent Dan Lilot reported that the 2022 USATF Outdoor Championships will be held at Hayward Field in Eugene from June 23-26. However, the 10,000 meters, heptathlon, decathlon and 20 km walks will take place separately. Lilot said the reasoning was “allegedly” the quick turnaround between the United States and the world championships (which will also be held in Eugene from July 15-24).

Instead, the 10,000m events would be held at Mount SAC on May 20, a month before the USA. The early date would give athletes more time to recover (there is only three weeks between the US and the World Championships) and make it easier for the 5,000m and 10,000m teams to try out (during in previous non-Olympic years, the 5,000m and 10,000mm were both held in four days in the USA, a difficult double for the long-distance runners). Great Britain has had success with a similar concept by hosting their 10,000m events as part of the Night of the 10,000m PBs event.

On the other hand, the best college students would face a tough choice. 10,000m trials would fall in the week between conference weekend (May 14-15) and the NCAA regional meetings (May 26-28). It would not be possible to play all three competitions plus the NCAAs (June 8-11).

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