Pacing and mule-ing at USATF ultra running championships
With the first two 2016 USATF ultra running championships coming up in just a few weeks, we’ve been getting quite a few questions about pacing or “mule-ing” athletes. While pacing is not allowed, there is a provision for “safety runners.” USATF Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) Council member Jason Bryant provided the following best practice regarding safety runners.
“A Safety Runner is allowed to accompany an USATF competitor after the halfway point, being 50 miles of the 100 Mile Trail Championships and 50km of the 100km Trail Championships. The Safety Runner should not at any point mule, which is defined as carrying supplies such as food, hydration, clothing, lights, or any items for the use of the USATF runner during the competition.
The Safety Runner should at no point be in front of the USATF runner in the competition. Any assistance given by a Safety Runner, or any other crew assisting USATF runners in the competition, can only take place at the designated aid stations. The Safety Runner’s role is to be available in the event a runner goes into distress not normally associated with competition of this type.
USATF is not looking for reasons to disqualify runners. USATF is trying to assist in a safe running experience as part of the USATF Championships as well as provide equitable competition. Please do not let the Safety Runner issue discourage you from participation in the USATF Championships. You will find we are easy to work with.”
Roy Pirrung will be the championship liaison at the USATF 100km Trail Championships held on January 9 in Bandera, Texas. Jason will be championship liaison at the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships held on February 5-6 in Huntsville, Texas.