There’s no more men’s 50K in IAAF international competition

from I’m Gonna Be…

Yep, you read that right…  There no longer is a men’s 50K in international competition under the IAAF, including in Rome for the World Team Championships.  IAAF released an official memo on Friday, April 8th, effective immediately that addresses it.  I will copy and paste it below.  This memo was sent out to every IAAF member federation throughout the world on Friday:

Dear General Secretary,

IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships

Rome, Italy – 7/8 May 2016 – 50km Race

We are writing concerning the participation of female athletes in IAAF 50km Race Walk events. You will recall that, in August 2015, Rule 261 was amended by the Congress to include the Women’s 50km Race Walk event as a listed World Record event.

For the moment, however, there remains no Women’s 50km Race Walk event on the IAAF calendar and an issue presents itself as to female race walkers being allowed to participate in the Men’s 50km Race Walk event.

In this regard, we write to advise you that the IAAF Council has recently voted to amend, with immediate effect, the Technical Regulations for the forthcoming IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Rome (7/8 May 2016) to allow for female athletes to participate in the senior 50km Race Walk event, together with men. Any women’s results in Rome will count equally with the men’s results towards the overall team result.

Should you wish to enter a female athlete in the 50km in Rome, please inform the IAAF Competitions Department ( before the Final Entry deadline (25 April 2016) providing the name of the female athlete(s) as well as other biographical information as necessary. The maximum number of athletes allowed to enter and compete in the 50km remains unchanged (seven to enter and five to compete), regardless of the number of men and women.

Please note that the IAAF Council’s decision also extends to the participation of female athletes in future IAAF 50km Race Walk events for which they qualify until such time as the IAAF introduces a separate 50km event for Women. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries regarding the attached information.

Kind Regards,

Jean Gracia

General Secretary

Appendix (under separate cover): IAAF WAS Technical Regulations, amended IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships

This means there is no more men’s 50K in IAAF competition, there is just THE 50K open to both men and women equally!!!!!!!!!! Although I had never heard it before, the correct term is “gender blind” and the only other event that is gender blind in the Olympics is Equestrianism. (there’s debate about whether sailing is also gender blind, and that’s a discussion for another day).

I’m not sure I could be much happier right now. This is a huge step for women’s 50K walking! I’m waiting to hear from the US Race Walking Executive Committee, who are having an emergency meeting, to see if they will vote me on the team. There are many, many reasons why they should do so, and I’m very hopeful that they will. Then I can be either the first or one of the first (if any other countries enter women) women to compete equally with the men, which would be AMAZING! The last few days have felt surreal and it’s been really hard to focus on things, which may be one reason I made a few mistakes playing Man of LaMancha last night, that and being really tired.

So now I go out to do my workout, hoping and praying that in one month I’ll be in Rome racing a 50K. Please everyone, send positive, encouraging thoughts to the Race Walk Executive Committee that they will vote yes and nominate me to the team.

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