A day following the IAAF’s decision to loosen the qualifying standards for 17 events on the Athletics program for next summer’s Olympic Games in Rio—including the marathon—USA Track & Field has followed suit, lowering the “B” qualifying standards for February’s Olympic Trials Marathon on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles, to sub-2:45:00 for women and sub-2:19:00 for men.
“The aim is to have more athletes achieving the standard and therefore, to get closer to the target number of participants,” the IAAF said on Thursday.
Friday’s changes mean that U.S. athletes who fell short of the previously listed minimum standards of 2:43 for women and 2:18 for men—the qualifying window opened on August 1, 2013 and closes on January 17, 2016—can now enter the race.
The relaxed standards likely means dozens of more runners will be eligible for the Trials marathon. Newly qualified runners intending to enter can do so on the USATF website.
As of this Dec. 8, USATF lists 73 men and 157 women as having achieved the previous minimum qualifying standards in the marathon, and an additional 97 men and 38 women through their half marathon time (1:05 for men and 1:15 for women, which remains unchanged).