January 1, 2004
A New Beginning for American Ultrarunning

Since 1984, the American Ultrarunning Association (AUA) has been consistent in its leadership in developing opportunities for ultrarunners and facilitating programs and national teams. The AUA was instrumental in the founding of the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) in 1984, and played a key role in bringing ultrarunning under the umbrella of USA Track & Field (USATF) in 1986.Throughout the years, the AUA has steadfastly stood by the American ultrarunner and focused on its mission of serving the sport of ultradistance running. 

Today, the AUA is embarking on a new venture that creates partnerships with ultrarunning entities that have proven track records in serving the American ultrarunner.  The AUA is partnering with Ultrarunning Magazine, as its core contituency publication vehicle.  This publication has stood the test of time and remains the centerpiece of communication for American ultrarunning.  With complete event coverage and a variety of columns ranging from training advice to whimsical stories of the participants, this magazine represents the best forum from which the AUA can serve its constituents. 

The AUA is moving in a new direction to reach all American ultrarunners, regardless of age or gender.  We aim to facilitate the organization and promotion of competitive championships and to bring a value added component to these events.  The AUA will foster this competitive environment to further the development of ultrarunners of all abilities.  We will also provide an avenue for athletes to participate in international competitions.  We continue to represent the United States at the international level with representation among the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU). 

The AUA will have a marketing-driven focus, with the goal of promoting the sport of ultrarunning to the mainstream public.  We will package a set of ultrarunning products to better attract sponsors to the sport.  As one of the founding members of Running USA, we will continue to support their agenda and to further
our involvement with their aims. 

The AUA will consist of two advisory groups to help guide us in this new direction.  An athlete advisory group will provide direct feedback from elite (or front-of-the-pack) ultrarunners to the mid-level and masters age-groups.  A second advisory group will consist of race directors whose interest lies in the formation of a well balanced championship calendar.  These two groups will advise the AUA Executive Board on matters relating to their respective needs.  

The AUA is very much interested in improving the overall performance of ultrarunners.  As with American marathoning, ultrarunning has recently seen a parallel drop in performances, for both open and masters runners.  We will create a forum aimed at development of the ultrarunner, for both newcomers and veterans.  

The AUA is planning on adjusting its masters age groups, to bring them in line with statistical analysis of the actual effect of aging on ultramarathon performances.  Forty- plus is the average age of our Open, elite championship medalists, proof that a runner's peak performance age at ultradistances is advanced beyond that of sub-ultradistances.  

"2004 will be an exciting year for American ultrarunners", says Kevin Setnes, President of the American Ultrarunning Association.  "For a change, they will feel like they are receiving something tangible from a national organization and not merely a card with a number on it.  They will clearly be able to identify who we are and what we are trying to do for them." 

For more information on the American Ultrarunning Association, please continue to visit us at www.americanultra.org

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