2023 IAU 50 Kilometer World Championship – Team USA Selection

The USA Track & Field (USATF) COVID-19 Working Group’s current international travel policy for U.S. teams prohibits American athletes from participating in events located in CDC level 3 and 4 countries unless the LOC’s covid safety plan has been reviewed and approved. As of this writing, South Africa is at CDC level 3. More information at usatf.org/covid19. Levels of countries can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel/index.html.

The USATF Road 50 Kilometer National Team will compete at the 2023 International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 50 Kilometer World Championships under the patronage of the WA (World Athletics) on May 28, 2023, in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

Team USA will include up to six male and six female athletes. The Team (and alternates), and one Team Leader, one Assistant Team Leader and one Team Physician will be selected by the Executive Committee of the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council.


Qualifying window – Saturday, November 27, 2021 – Sunday, March 12, 2023

Team Selection – Monday and Tuesday, March 13-14, 2023

Team Announced – Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Standards for Consideration

To be considered for the USA 50 Kilometer National Team, runners must be citizens of the United States of America, current USATF members, and meet one of the following qualification standards, as well as other eligibility requirements. Athletes will be selected to the team based on the order of the criteria below until all the team spots are filled.

  1. Automatic selection will be given to male and female athletes who finish in the top-10 at the 2021 50K World Championships (not contested in 2021 due to COVID) and achieve the minimum qualifying time standards indicated in #2 below.
  2. Minimum qualifying performance standards for auto qualification and consideration
    Male: 50 km Road or Track – Sub 3:00:00; Marathon Road – Sub 2:22:00
    Female: 50 km Road or Track – Sub 3:33:00; Marathon Road – Sub 2:48:00
  3. Automatic selection will be given to the first U.S. Male and first U.S. Female at the following races, provided minimum performance standards are met (see 2 above)
    2022 Caumsett Park 50K (USATF National 50K Championships), March 6, 2022
    2023 Caumsett Park 50K (USATF National 50K Championships), March 5, 2023
    Mad City 50K, April 23, 2022
  4. Additional selections will be made based on submitted resume prioritizing 50 km road, road marathon, and 50 km trail, respectively.
  5. Alternates will be selected from a pool of qualified athletes by the USATF Mountain, Ultra, and Trail Executive Committee.


If the first American finisher in one of the automatic qualifying races declines a position, it will be offered to the next highest finishing American (and so on until filled) provided minimum qualification standards are met.

Additional selections will be made by USATF Mountain, Ultra, and Trail Executive Committee.

One calendar month prior to the end of the qualification period, a message will be posted to the USATF MUT Facebook page and other social media to call for those who have met any of the above standards to contact Team Leader, Lin Gentling, to express their interest in Team membership. In addition, qualified athletes may contact Team Leader at any time they meet one of the qualifying standards. From the list compiled, the Team will be selected as stated above.

NOTE To Athletes and RD’s

Events suitable for qualifying must be USATF Certified for distance (or NGB) or provide survey certificate for track events AND run on a record eligible course.
Events must be USATF Sanctioned (USATF Rules upheld) – not limited to, but including 144.3 (Assistance To Athletes) and 163.6 (a) (Leaving the Track, Field, or Course)
Qualifying Marks must take place in official competitions (Refer to USATF Rule Book 262.3 (a) where “Qualifying” may interchange with “Record”).
Lap recording to USATF and World Athletics standards must be documented and provided if lap course is used.

Current Qualifiers [updated May 4, 2022]


  • Criterion 1 (Top 10 at 2021 50 km World Championship (AUTO)) – None. The 2021 IAU 50K World Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • Criterion 2 (2022, 2023 National Champion (AUTO) Auto Selects at Mad City 2022)
    • Alexandra Niles, 3:25:12, 2022 Heckscher 50K Road National Championship, Long Island, NY; 2/27/22
    • Ildiko Gaal, 3:28:36, 2022 Mad City 50K, Madison, WI; 4/23/22
  • Criterion 3 (Meeting Time Standards at 2021 50 km World Championship World) – None. The 2021 IAU 50K World Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Qualifying Times at Sanctioned Races between November 27, 2021 – March 12, 2023

    • Melissa Tanner 3:22:15, Marine Corps Marathon 50K, Washington, D.C.; 10/30/22
    • Melissa Tanner 3:28:48, Dawn to Dusk to Dawn Track Ultras, Sharon, PA; 05/07/22
    • Autumn Ray, 3:29:16, 2022, Heckscher 50K Road National Championship, Long Island, NY; 2/27/22
    • Melissa Tanner, 3:29:49, 2022 Heckscher 50K Road National Championship, Long Island, NY; 2/27/22
    • Ann Marie Kirkpatrick, 3:31:49, 2022 Mad City 50K, Madison, WI; 4/23/22


  • Criterion 1 (Top 10 at 2021 50 km World Championship (AUTO)) – None. The 2021 IAU 50K World Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • Criterion 2 (2022, 2023 National Champion (AUTO), Auto Selects at Mad City 2022))
    • Fernando Cabada, 2:57:35, 2022 Mad City 50K, Madison, WI; 4/23/22
  • Criterion 3 (Meeting Time Standards at 2021 50 km World Championship World) – None. The 2021 IAU 50K World Championships were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Qualifying Times at Sanctioned Races between November 27, 2021 – March 12, 2023

  • CJ Albertson, 2:38:43, Ruth Anderson Memorial Endurance 50K, San Francisco, CA, 10/8/22
  • Fermin Villagran, 2:55:20, Ruth Anderson Memorial Endurance 50K, San Francisco, CA, 10/8/22

Important Dates

  • Qualifying performance time frame: November 27, 2021 – March 12, 2023
  • Athlete Resumes Due: No later than February 28, 2023
  • Team Selected: Monday and Tuesday, March 13-14, 2023
  • Team Announced: Wednesday, March 15, 2023
  • No team athlete substitutions after Tuesday, May 3, 2023

All athletes must be current USATF members, U.S. citizens, and have a passport valid through February 2024.

Team uniforms will be provided by USATF. If an athlete qualifies for the team but cannot make the trip due to injury or any other circumstance, the uniform must be returned to USATF.

Team members will receive funding from USA Track & Field and the LOC with the exact reimbursement amount TBA. We do know that this team will not be fully funded with these resources.

Questions and resumes should be sent to Lin Gentling (lsgentling@charter.net) and Meghan Canfield (coachmeghancanfield@gmail.com). Athletes who earn spots on the 2023 USA 50K Team must confirm their acceptance of a team spot no later than March 22, 2023.

Please notify lsgentling@charter.net of any missing qualifying performances or errors in reporting of performances.

Rules all athletes must know and adhere to when attempting to qualify for the 50K National Team Selection


Competition under these Rules consists of self-propelled motion without assistance, except as defined by the Rules of Competition of a specific event discipline.
NOTE 1: For athletes with disabilities entering open competitions, refer to the “USATF Policy and Procedures for Evaluation of Requests for Accommodations Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act” .
NOTE 2: For rules covering disabled-only competitions see the SPECIAL SECTION which follows ILLUSTRATIONS in this rule book. 2020 USATF Competition Rules – 51
Except as provided in road races (Rule 241) and in long distance walking events (Rule 232), during the progress of an event a competitor who has received any assistance whatsoever may be disqualified by the Referee. “Assistance” is the conveying of advice, information or direct help to a competitor by any means, including a technical device.
The following shall be considered examples of assistance:
Pacing in running or walking events by persons not participating in the event, by competitors lapped or about to be lapped, or by any kind of technical device other than those permitted under Rule 144.4(e) and Rule 144.4(h). See Rule 250 through Rule 252 for Cross Country, Mountain and Trail Running.
The visible possession or use by athletes of video, audio, or communications devices in the competition area. The Games Committee for an LDR event may allow the use of portable listening devices not capable of receiving communication; however, those competing in championships for awards, medals, or prize money may not use such devices. See Rule 250 through Rule 252 for Cross Country, Mountain and Trail Running.
The use of any technology or appliance that provides the user with an unfair advantage which would not have been obtainable using equipment complying with the Rules.
NOTE: Shoes complying with Rule 143 are permitted.
The use of any mechanical aid, unless the competitor can establish on the balance of probabilities that the use of such an aid would not provide an overall competitive advantage over a competitor not using such aid.
Provision of advice or other support by any official of the competition not related to, required or allowed by the specific role of the official in the competition at the time. This includes items such as coaching advice, providing take-off point information in a jumping event, and time or distance gaps in a race. Specifically excluded from providing assistance is indicating the take-off point for a failure in the horizontal jumps, time announcements allowed in Rule 163.15.
Receiving physical support from another (other than from another competitor in the event helping to recover to a standing position) that assists in making forward progress in the race.
The following shall not be considered assistance:
Verbal or other communication, without the use of any technical device, from an individual who is not in the competition area to a competitor who is in the competition area. In order to facilitate this communication and not to disturb the staging of the competition, it is recommended that a place in the stands, close to the immediate site of each field event, be reserved for the competitors’ coaches. NOTE: Coaches complying otherwise with Rule 241.2 may communicate with their competitors.
Physiotherapy and/or medical treatment necessary to enable an athlete to participate, or continue participation once in the competition area, may be provided by members of the official medical staff appointed by the Games Committee and clearly identified as such. Accredited team medical personnel approved by the Meet Doctor specifically for this purpose may be permitted in 2020 USATF Competition Rules – 52 the medical treatment area outside the competition area. In neither case shall the intervention delay the conduct of the competition or a competitor’s trial in the designated order. Such attendance or assistance by any other person, whether immediately before competition once an athlete has left the Clerking area, or during the competition, is assistance under Rule 144.6.
Medical personnel authorized by the Games Committee or Referee to do so may perform a hands-on medical examination during the progress of an event for any competitor who appears in distress. If in their opinion it is in the best interest of the competitor’s health and welfare, they may remove the competitor from the competition.
Receiving physical support from an official or other person designated by the Games Committee to recover to a standing position or to access medical assistance.
Any kind of personal safeguard (i.e., bandage, tape, belt, support, wrist cooler, breathing aid, etc.) for medical purposes. The Referee shall have the authority to verify any case should that be desired.
Pace setting by an officially designated person entered in an event for that purpose is permitted, provided such pacesetters start in the event.
Personally carrying or wearing articles of equipment such as wrist chronometers, heart rate monitors, speed distance monitors, stride sensors or similar devices during a race provided that such device cannot be used to communicate with any other person.
Electronic lights or similar appliance indicating progressive times during a race, including a relevant record.
Viewing by athletes competing in field events, of images of previous trial(s), recorded on their behalf by persons not placed in the competition area. See Rule 144.3(b). The viewing device or images taken from it shall not be taken into the competition area.
NOTE: For Youth Athletics exception see Rule 302.5(s).
Hats, gloves, shoes and other items of clothing provided to competitors at official stations.
In a track event, any competitor competing to lose or to coach another competitor shall forfeit the right to be in the competition and shall be disqualified.
Any athlete giving or receiving assistance during any event other than permitted in Rule 144.4 must be cautioned by the Referee and warned that for any repetition, he or she will be disqualified from that event. If such disqualification occurs, any performance accomplished up to that time in the same event session shall not be considered valid. Performances accomplished in any previous event session, such as a qualifying round, shall stand.
NOTE 1: For Youth Athletics exception see Rule 302.5(j).
NOTE 2: Information conveyed to an athlete by an official is not considered assistance provided such information is made available to all athletes. 2020 USATF Competition Rules – 53
NOTE 3: In cases under Rule 144.3(a), disqualifications may be made without warning.
No attendant or competitor who is not actually taking part in the competition shall accompany any competitor on the mark or in the competition, nor shall any competitor be allowed, without the permission of the Referee or Judges, to receive assistance or refreshment from anyone during the progress of the competition, except as provided by Rules 144.3(b), 145.5, 232, or 241.
A competitor may, at any time, carry water or refreshment by hand or attached to his/her body provided it was carried from the start or collected or received at an official station.
In races of 5000 Meters through 10,000 Meters, the meet organizers may furnish competitors with water and sponging stations on the track and in off-track events.
In Track Events longer than 10,000m, water shall be provided; sponging stations and refreshments may be provided. Refreshments may be provided by either the Games Committee or the athlete and shall be placed so that they are easily accessible to, or may be put by authorized persons into the hands of the athletes. Refreshments provided by the athletes shall be kept under the supervision of officials designated by the Games Committee from the time that the refreshments are lodged by the athletes or their representatives. See Rules 232 and 241.
A competitor who receives or collects refreshment or water from a place other than the official stations, except where provided for medical reasons from or under the direction of race officials, or takes the refreshment of another competitor, should, for a first such offense, be warned by the Referee normally by showing a yellow card. For a second offense, the Referee shall disqualify the competitor, normally by showing a red card. The competitor shall then immediately leave the course. NOTE: A competitor may receive from or pass to another competitor refreshment, water or sponges provided it was carried from the start or collected or received at an official station. However any continuous support from a competitor to one or more others in such a way may be regarded as unfair assistance and warnings and/or disqualifications as outlined above may be applied.


6. Leaving Track or Course:
A. No competitor, after voluntarily leaving the track or course, except in compliance with Rule 170.16, shall be allowed to rejoin a race either for the purpose of gaining a place or to pace or to assist another competitor. The competitor shall be recorded as not finishing the event. A competitor attempting to re-enter the race shall be disqualified.


3. Credit for Records:
A. No record shall be acceptable unless it is made in a scratch running competition, or a handicap or scratch competition in a field event, open to two or more clubs, schools, colleges, or other organizations, which has been fixed and advertised before the day of competition, and which is included in the printed program together with the names of the entrants for the events. A record may be accepted in a handicap race, provided the performance is set in a race in which

i. all competitors start from the same line,
ii. no one has started before the competitor claiming the record and
iii. the race is timed in accordance with Rule 165.4. At least two competitors, and in relays at least two teams, shall have participated in the event in which the record purportedly was established. In field events, a handicap competition may be combined with the scratch competition. In Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, Long Distance Running, Race Walking and Masters Track and Field, no record shall be acceptable unless it was made in an event that had been sanctioned by USATF, a member organization of USATF or another member Federation of World Athletics by competitors eligible to compete under World Athletics Rules. NOTE: See Rule 320.8 for Masters Track and Field conditions.

[Editor’s Note: Updated March 4, 2022]

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