I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, it’s been sitting in my phone amongst other scribbles and as I’m starting to plan my race schedule it’s become relevant to me, it’s a discussion on how many rounds the 400M men should run at the British Championships.
Should British Athletics change the men’s 400ms from 3 rounds to 2 with an A+B Final.
Let’s start with the points in favour of 3 rounds.
•It’s tradition, the current format at a major championships is the standard 3 rounds.
•Fans will get to see athletes run an extra race on Friday night.
•Athletes will get an extra race.
•Selection for the Olympics only has to be decided from the 8 athletes in the final.
•Over 3 rounds your less likely to loose the top athletes for the final race.
•The lane draw for the heats won’t have to be seeded, over 3 rounds the best athletes won’t have to run that fast to qualify so lane 1 or 8 won’t be a major disadvantage running 46 seconds.
For 2 rounds with an A+B final
•Races will be of a higher quality as it will be tougher to make the final. Times will be faster.
•It’s closer to international standard, at a global event to qualify from the heats you normally run high 44/45 low, British champs is normally 46 high. It will be a true reflection on who can run at a higher intensity repeatedly.
•The B final gives athletes an opportunity to make the relay squad if athletes run better than the A finalists.
•Putting the first round on the Friday night would actually bring more spectators, a higher standard of athletics will put bums on seats.
•This year 2 rounds would allow athletes to recover for the European championships which are within a few days. It will give the non Olympic qualifiers a better opportunity of success at an international competition, in turn developing the talent pool.
•It’s already in place for the women’s event where this an equal depth of talent.
My personal opinion is that 2 rounds would lead to a better quality event, raising the entry standard would encourage the base of British 400m runners to improve which is only a good thing for the top end. Athletes would have to run 45 low or better to make the final which is closer to international standard where athletes are running 44s in the heats (even 43′s). I haven’t been to a major championships and been able to run 46 high to make the semi finals so dropping a round would help us prepare better for the majors.
I’d like to go the Europeans and defend my title, I don’t understand the decision to have a European Championships in an Olympic year but it’s still a title that’s there to be won. By taking athletes who may not make the individual at the Olympics it would give other athletes an opportunity to gain experience, boost their exposure which could lead to better races and other potential bonuses.
Let me know what you think, it’s unlikely that the schedule would be changed but it would be interesting to hear other people’s thoughts on the trials.