Saturday, January 26, 2013

USATF: need to play to win

In PAUSATF, USATF stands for the USA Track and Field Association and PA for its Pacific Association chapter (North California down to San Luis Obispo and just beyond Reno, Nevada on the East side).

I joined PAUSATF in 2006 when I switched to ultra-running and I havebeen a passionate and avid participant in the Mountain Ultra Trail running Grand Prix since (65 ultra competitions of the GP these past 7 years), winning my age group for the last 6 years. I had been a member of the Fédération Francaise d'Athlétisme (FFA) since I started running seriously in 1998 and that allowed me to run races and championships in France. I left the FFA after taking the US citizenship in 2008 and running almost exclusively in the US anyway. As I looked at both associations again, I actually found an interesting fact: despite the supremacy of the US in Track and Field at the international level, and a population 5 times larger than France, USATF would have only 100,000 members according to wikipedia while the FFA is 220,000-member strong. Interesting... Note that a major difference is being member of the FFA exempts you from having to provide a medical certificate for every race you enter, a mandatory requirement otherwise. That may be part of the explanation.

Anyway, back to the title: having studied enough maths to know the odds, I don't play the lottery except for a few ultra races (e.g. Way Too Cool or Miwok and of course Western States if I can be in town in June) but, while browsing the association's web site in December, I decided to put my name in a particular hat, the members-only monthly drawing. And... ta-da... I won a bronze medal (i.e. a $50 voucher for USATF merchandise which I converted into a couple of gifts for Agnès as I can't wear gear from a competitive brand which I wouldn't name in my blog... ;-).
So, my dear fellow USATF members, if you were skeptical, here is a proof that it is a real draw, take your chance! And you don't even have to sweat to win such a medal... ;-)

As for running, none this week again for me, I'll resume training by running the Jed Smith 50K next week in Sacramento. See some of your there and hope the calf will hold this time; needless to say, I plan on taking it much easier than last year and not aiming at a PR this time (3:19:09 in 2012, great memories...).

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