USA Sports Foundation
I Run For Gold Program Overview
If you’re interested in helping, please email: Scott at... USSportsFoundation@gmail.com
A New Way of supporting U.S. Athletes who represent the United States in International Ultra Running Competition(s), but not Olympic Competitions. ( per Rule 40 )
To engage members of the running community, across the country, to support athletes participating in international competitions representing the United States on Team USA.
If there was a way of supporting fellow ultra runners who spend countless hours training to represent the US, but have to pay for their own travel expenses to represent the USA at international competitions, would you be interested in helping raise money to offset some of those costs?? Read the article by Traci Falbo at the bottom of this page!
Soccer, Tennis, Golf, Cycling, Triathlon and a few other sports get all the big sponsor money while the less known sports, like Ultra’s, get a pittance, if anything when it comes to support, with most athletes paying their own way to compete for the US on team USA. Think about it, you’re an athlete, you’ve spent countless hours training, maybe your entire life to this point and your selected because you earned the right to be on TEAM USA and represent the US in international competition, and then you find out you need to pay your own way if you want to participate. You need to buy your own plane ticket, pay for your own room & board while competing, pay for your own food, maybe even pay for your own uniform! Since most athletes work full time somewhere, they use their vacation time from work, or go with time off without pay and have to foot the bill to go! Yes there are a lot of other expenses that are covered, but not everything! So what do you do, borrow money from friend & family or run up credit card debt to fund representing the US.
All this can change, but the sports own people must be the ones to make the changes.
While the initial launch is for MUT “Ultra Runners” any participation sport could join and raise money for athletes in that discipline! ( Marathons & other Road Races, Volleyball, Swimming, Triathlon, Track & Field events, the list of athletes that could be helped is endless. ) More on that, at a later date!
How it would work; If an event collected a small extra fee at registration ( $1.00, $2.00 or even $5.00 ) from 75 to 80% of the participants, the fee’s generated per person would be small, but combined with other participants from that event and other events throughout the year, it would generate enough money to help athletes in international competitions, by offsetting some or all of their personal expenses for travel, lodging and food. Remember international competitions don’t happen every year; most are every 2 or 4 years. So while $1.00 to $5.00 may not seem like a lot to contribute, and most people probably wouldn’t even think twice about spending a few dollars to support fellow athletes, the donations collected over a 2-4 year span could generate a lot of support.
I know this concept will work as I just finished directing a 5k & 10k with 1200 runners and collected over $500 WITHOUT even asking for donations, the button to donate was there, and some people donated. So think of the possibilities if we ASKED to support this effort with a small donation of $1. How many would donate a $1 or more, would you donate??
You don't have to take my word, the chart below is from the current RUNSIGNUP.com web site. $$ donated were 8.3% of the transaction dollars processed.
So what needs to be done?? Get the word out to races and RD’s and solicit their participation. There is NO COST to a race for participating and by becoming a I Run For Gold Sponsor, as all money collected is from participant donations, not their bottom line! Why would a race not want to support TEAM USA??
With that said….All this would be subject to the rules and regulations that govern international competition and sponsorship, so as to not get anyone in trouble.
The exact details have to still be worked out, but the idea is simple…Let’s help our fellow ultra runners compete for US dominance in our sport of Ultra Running.
I’m looking for people who see the vision and would be willing to help get this off the ground, ( A board of directors, committee members, spokes people, people to bounce ideas off, people with ideas, people with connections, we need it all! )
If you’re interested in helping, please email: Scott @ USSportsFoundation@gmail.com
USATF Level 1 Coach
Florida USATF MUT Chair
USATF Club President & Individual Member
USATF Organization Member
USATF Course Measurer
RRCA Level 1 Coach
RRCA Certified Race Director
Race Director for 2 Ultras and several other races
How it works...
Establish the name the organization will promote... ( Like..I Run For Gold )
Create a website, fill it with background info on the cause. ( Like this one...)
Create a Board of Directors.
Establish an outline for the organizations 1st year
Establish rules and by-laws as required
Become an official organization in the State of Florida ( or another State )
Become a 503C organization as required
Establish a bank account to be used to collect money.
Establish the way donations are to be handled and how administrative costs are covered (90/10% split? )
Find Spokesperson(s) for the cause. ( the 24 hour team for example )
Get RunSign-Up to agree to take donations for the organization, which they already do. ( then work on other registration sites )
Get the word out to races and RD’s and solicit their participation. There is NO COST to a race for participating and by becoming a I Run For Gold Sponsor, as all money collected is from participant donations, not their bottom line!
Donations: Small donations would be collected at time of registration for an event, through a registration site like Run Sign-up, hoping that Active and Ultra Sign-up will come on board at some point. The donations collected would be paid out to an account the organization holds. Monies would be collected all year possibly for several years. A Board of Directors would be established to decide which events to support and the amount donated to either the sport’s governing body or the athlete directly for that sport. If the donation went to the governing body, they would then make a donation to the team or use the money to pay travel, lodging or food expenses for the athletes who compete. In future years, if this takes off, team support staff and medical crews could be added to the funding provided! ( a stretch goal! )
Create a logo to be used for branding similar to the IAU label. Allow or get races to promote themselves as a “I Run For Gold” race to support the cause. Work on amassing a list of supporter emails and emailing them “Member” info, such as where team members will be running, asking team members to hold a meet and greet or give a talk at a race they will be at!
RunSugnUp RaceTrends 2019 Report can be found here: https://runsignup.com/Trends
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Sample Event Agreement
AN ARTICLE ABOUT USATF MUT TEAM COMPETITIONS, THAT REINFORCES WHY THE "I RUN FOR GOLD" PROGRAM IS NEEDED IN THE MUT COMMUNITY
If you’re interested in helping, please email: Scott at... USSportsFoundation@gmail.com
A Primer on MUT and USATF
BY GUEST AUTHOR ON 10/12/2017
By Traci Falbo
Participation in mountain, ultra and trail (MUT) races continues to grow by leaps and bounds each year. However, many people in the sport have little understanding of the role that USA Track & Field (USATF) plays in the MUT world. As a MUT representative with USATF and a member of multiple US Teams for World Championships, my goal with this article is to shed some light on that relationship and its history, as well as the history and structure of various World Championships in MUT.
The mission of the MUT Council within USATF is to continue to grow participation in the MUT community; to select and oversee National Championship races; and to write qualifying standards for and select National Teams to participate in World Championships.
National Teams and World Championships
Currently, there are six World Championships that fall into the MUT category and for which USATF fields a team. All of these championships are under the patronage of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). USATF also fields two other teams: a team for the NACAC Mountain Running Championships (North America, Central America and Caribbean) and a team for the Mountain Running International Youth Cup (for 16- and 17-year-olds).
While the six World Championship events only gained that particular status under the IAAF in the last decade, most have been around longer under various past labels of World Trophy, Cup, or Challenge. The international governing bodies that oversee and help organize these events are the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU), the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) and the International Trail Running Association (ITRA). All of these acronyms and organizational hierarchies can admittedly be a bit confusing, but the table below helps to clarify the structure and event timeline.
The third column listed in the table shows when the event first began with “world” participation – i.e., a global competition – as a Trophy, Cup or Challenge race. As the races gained momentum and global participation, they were converted to official World Championships. Among other things, this designation requires host organizations to provide some level of funding for athletes – typically in the form of subsidized room and board.
In the late 1980s, as World Challenge (or equivalent) events began to emerge, the MUT community began to host its first National Championship events at the various distances. In 2007, the 100k National Championship was the first among these to offer prize money to its top finishers. The purse totaled $4,825. As of 2017, there are 10 total USATF National Championships under the MUT umbrella (Mountain: 12k Mountain Running; Ultra (road): 50k, 100k, 50m and 24-hour; and Trail: Half Marathon, Marathon, 50k, 100k, 50m and 100m). A list of the National Championship races at ultra distances in 2017 is in the table below.
At each championship, overall medals are awarded to the top 10 males and females. Including all of these events, a total of $47,900 in prize money is being offered in 2017. This money is provided by the race organizers, not USATF. Prize money is a significant factor when the MUT Council reviews bids for National Championship race candidates. Ideally the National Championship events are used as a basis for team member selection for World Championship events, but not all the events have ideal timing and the qualification and team selection procedures for each World Championship team differs. More information on these procedures can be found on the USATF website’s Mountain/Ultra/Trail page.
The MUT Council was formed within USATF in 1998 with an annual budget of $600, which came from within the budgets of various existing divisions – Women’s, Men’s and Master’s. In 1999, MUT was included in the USATF budget as a line item for the first time. Beginning with that year, MUT received $5,000 annually through 2008. Funding began increasing the next year – $8,000 in 2009, $26,000 in 2010, $32,500 in 2011, etc. – reaching its current peak of $92,000 for 2017. Of that, $61,000 is allocated specifically for World Championship team support in the form of partial travel reimbursements. (Currently, only the six World Championship teams receive this partial funding – and not the two other teams mentioned previously – as the MUT Council considers those teams to be its priority.) Around $6,000 from the budget covers the cost of uniforms and shipping, while the remaining $25,000 is allocated for National Championships and committee-related expenses.
The MUT budget has grown substantially in the last decade, but so have expenditures with more World Championship teams and more National Championships. (While the MUT Council doesn’t provide prize money for National Championships, it does spend money on medals and travel for MUT liaisons, who help oversee the event, award medals and provide press coverage.) Prior to the MUT Council forming within USATF, athletes who were participating in World Cups or Challenges had to individually lobby to even acquire uniforms (usually paying for them themselves) and pay their own expenses for events. (Two exceptions are in 1994 and 1996, when USATF allocated some money for the 100K teams.)
Roy Pirrung, an MUT Council member and long-time MUT athlete, has been a vocal advocate for the 24-hour teams since the early 1990s. He and another athlete, Dan Brannen, worked to acquire funds and uniforms from USATF prior to the MUT Council’s formation. Other advocates instrumental in gaining support for MUT runners over the years include Kevin Setnes, Lorraine Gersitz, Janice Anderson, Chrissy Fergusson and many others.
Beginning in 2002, the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting MUT running – helped raise money for National Teams in the mountain running category, in addition to finding sponsors over the years. ATRA’s founder and executive director, Nancy Hobbs, has long advocated for an increased MUT budget within USATF. (Note: USATF’s budget for 2017 is slightly over $40 million.)
Recently, ATRA has raised extra funds for the Trail Running World Championships Team through a partnership with the nutrition company Bogg’s Trail Butter.
This sort of creative funding is commonplace in the MUT world. For instance, Paul Kirsch and Chris Dunn, two mountain-running advocates, have donated funds to the mountain running team from proceeds of events they have hosted in New England. Two years ago, top MUT runner Sage Canaday donated proceeds from his short film, MUT Runner, to the World Long-Distance Mountain Running Championships Team. Howard Nippert makes bandanas with an extra pocket for ice (runners in hot races tie these bandanas around their necks to help stay cool), with all proceeds going for the 24-hour World Championships Team. Tim Yanacheck, race director of the Mad City 100K, the perennial US 100K National Championship, has solicited donations for the 100K World Championships Team. Ian Golden, race director of the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile, which has recently served as the US 50 Mile National Championship, has paid for the World Championship travel of the winners of his race (which has been an auto-qualifier for the Trail Running World Championships).
These examples show the broad-based support and creativity used to help send our country’s best athletes to compete on the world stage. They also show how far we have to go in securing an appropriate level of support from our national governing body, USATF.
The MUT Council’s 2017 budget of $92,000 is not enough to fully fund our World Championship teams. The vast majority of athletes are still left paying out of pocket for a portion of their World Championships participation. Of course, this budget is $91,400 more than it was in 1998. Clearly, MUT has come a long way, but we aren’t done yet. We are currently about $60,000 short of full funding for all eight teams (the six World Championship teams plus the NACAC and youth teams).
Those of us working within the USATF structure are striving to share our message and build support both internally and externally. Internally, MUT has representation within the Athlete Advisory Committee (AAC) at USATF. The AAC is comprised of two athlete representatives from each of the following groups: Olympic runners, Olympic race walkers, Olympic throwers, Olympic jumpers, road runners, cross country runners and MUT. The MUT representatives are me (Traci Falbo) and Roy Pirrung. We have recently had some success in alerting other USATF athletes of our needs, as well as sharing our many successes on the world stage. This helps to set the stage for additional financial support from USATF.
Externally, the biggest factor that could help us to secure better support for our National Teams is increased participation in USATF events and increased USATF membership among all members of the MUT community. So when planning your next races, please consider a USATF event as it is one way to play a part in helping our US National Teams compete on the world stage.
Author’s Note: As one of the representatives of our community within USATF, I would strongly encourage more of our top athletes to get involved. Anyone who has placed in the top 10 at a National Championship in the past two years or competed on a World Championship team in the past 10 years are welcome. If interested in learning more and getting updates on what’s happening with MUT and the AAC, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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