The BMAF Track & Field Merit Standards have been arrived at by compiling all of the results in the Indoor [8666 performances] and Outdoor [14771 performances] Championships between 1996 and 2009.
We then picked 80% of competitors in each event to get within the merit standard as a base. A graph was then drawn, which was then adjusted to produce a smoother line to get a better progression, which then gave us the results shown on following pages.
Please be aware, the “we” is the royal WE, in fact it is virtually all Ian Thomas, who put an inordinate amount of time into formulating these standards, over a number of years, but especially in 2010 to bring them together.
The Standards are to serve two purposes, the first to ensure that medals are earned, not given for ‘showing up’, which then demeans the merit of the Gold Medal. The second and more important is that it should set athletes a goal.
Our Championships are the pinnacle of national competition, which are open to all, and we have no problem in accepting athletes outside the standard. As you can see, 20% are always outside them. The competition however is a Championship, which athletes can use as top of the range competition, to try and achieve their goal. The standards can be used as either an ultimate achievement or a possible starting point for greater things. Numerous Masters athletes over the years have used just making a final, or being in the first 10, as their ultimate achievement, only to realize why stop there. They then re-focussed and have gone on to achieve success both at the National and then International Championships. Everyone should and can be Masters of their own destiny.
Finally, the Standards are not ‘written in stone’, they will be tweaked over the years as there are bound to be anomalies, especially in the older age groups, where the performances of one athlete can skew the standard. At all Championships such anomalies can be reviewed, as will prevailing conditions – we will not be blinkered.