Recently I was asked about the UK team for this year's World 24 hr Championships. I must admit that I hadn't given any thought as to who might be included in that team other than I hope I am ...
So, here are my thoughts:
UK Athletics usually have selection criteria along the lines of -
men ... A standard 236 km ... team standard ... 225 km
women ... A standard 215 km ... team standard ... 205 km
and, in theory, what happens is that anybody who has the A standard is automatically selected but if there aren't enough to complete a team then those with the team standard are also considered - but only if there are enough to make a full team.
For example if one man has 240 km and two more men have 227 km each then only one man will be selected.
Of course there is a time frame in which runners are expected to reach the standards and this is usually in the 18 months before selection date. For this year's World Championships I would expect that to be something like:
1 Jan 2011 to 30 June 2012
Between those dates the qualifying performances so far are:
John Pares ... 244 km
Pat Robbins ... 231 km
Steve Holyoak ... 226 km
Liz Hawker ... 247 km
Emily Gelder ... 220 km
Debbie Martin-Consani ... 208 km
Jen Salter ... 206 km
Marie Doke ... 206 km
Because there wasn't a World or European Championships last year it is possible that the qualifying period will be extended back to include the Perth race (Sep 2010) or even the last World Championships (May 2010), in which case the following should be added to the list:
Richard Quennell ... 246 km (May 2010)
Jim Rogers ... 244 km (May 2010)
Chris Carver ... 238 km (Sep 2010)
Paul Hart ... 228 km (Sep 2010)
Angie Sadler ... 205 km (Sep 2010)
As there has been no announcement yet about selection there is a possibility of a few more qualifying performances in the first half of this year.
And of course the selectors usually reserve the right to use other long ultras to help with their choices. Overall then I would suggest that only John Pares and Liz Hawker have earned their place in Poland and as for other runners ... your guess is as good as mine at the moment.
I do know that the team management were hopeful of getting selection sorted by the end of last year but obviously the people at UK Athletics didn't like that idea - probably down to funding.
I also believe that we have some very good ultra runners in this country but very few road and/or track 24 hour races. Only one at the last count. In recent years we have lost races in Hull and Doncaster for example. I know that Pam Storey is looking to stage some races but if we had a few more then the performances would only improve.
So ... who wants to organise a road or track 24 hr race in Britain ??? Count me in if you do.