Will Sacramento masters nationals go way of 2021 Millrose Games? Vaccination levels key

Hornet Stadium at Sacramento State has seen many masters records. Hoping 2021 affords us some more.Hornet Stadium at Sacramento State has seen many masters records. Hoping 2021 affords us some more.

In late July 2010, USATF masters nationals were staged at Sacramento State University, site of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials. The 2010 meet was a warmup for 2011 worlds, also mainly at Hornet Stadium.

Now the question: Will Sacramento host 2021 masters nationals — either in July or delayed till August? It’s officially still on, as national chair Jerry Bookin-Weiner said today on Facebook. But the dates are fluid.

My vote is for August — with a 91-degree average high, it’s under the 92 average high for July.

Another reason: An extra month of vaccinations.

Last month, the masters-friendly 2021 Millrose Games were canceled. Now rumors are being swatted that Sacramento has been canceled or dates delayed.

The backup plan for some is National Senior Games, set Nov. 5-18 in Fort Lauderdale. (But with many 2020 qualifying meets spiked, I’m unsure how people can get into the Florida meet.)

Lots of factors will decide whether Sacto is a go. What percentage of America is vaccinated? Will foreign entries be allowed (as is tradition)? Will proof of a COVID test be required, and how close to the meet? And will enough officials be willing to haul their masks to Northern California? Will entries justify the usual four-day schedule?

My August 22 poll indicated that 63% expect to see track return in their country in 2021, with 31% banking on 2022.

But WMA world meets have been pushed back a year, as Prez Margit Jungmann announced Dec. 22:

It was a matter of seeing the facts and making responsible and courageous decisions. That is why we have now decided with our partners in Tampere, Edmonton and Gothenburg that we look to the year 2022 with confidence and come back with power. With the future LOCs, we agreed to the new calendar. Considering that traveling in 2021 will still be difficult, for some even impossible, the vaccine will take time to protect the people, the council decided to postpone Tampere, who stepped in for Toronto, to 2022, followed by Edmonton (indoors) in 2023 and Gothenburg (outdoors) in 2024.

On national circuits, I expect a late 2021 restart. On world stage, 2022 depends on vaccination rollouts and whether enough major masters nations are up to snuff on shots.

The unspoken fear: How many nations won’t be allowed at worlds?

I can see certain undervaccinated countries being told: Get your acts together first. (And another wildcard: Will Canada, Finland and Sweden have travel bans those years? Which countries banned?)

Too many wrinkles to count. Just like our older age groups.

Bottom line: Our sport will prevail. But patience is mandatory.

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at TrackCEO@aol.com or kens@timesofandiego.com. Story tips always welcome!

3 Comments on "Will Sacramento masters nationals go way of 2021 Millrose Games? Vaccination levels key"

  1. Thanks for this, Ken. I truly fear the very hot days, which I define as a high of 96 degrees or above. A quick search for Sacramento found that July 2020 had 13 such days, while August 2020 checked in with 16 days reaching 96 or above. I do remember from 2010 nationals that it was pretty tough out there and that the sound system was not particularly good. For me, I think it’s purely an academic question, however, as I definitely do not plan to be there.

  2. Michael Walker | January 7, 2021 at 6:47 am | Reply

    I live in the south so heat in the summer is a fact of life but especially for the distance guys it can be tough. I went to the Worlds in 2011 and don’t remember it being that bad. That said, perhaps scheduling event in the cooler parts of the day [early morning and evening] can be done. If the meet is a go, I do plan to attend. No meets in 20 was necessary not fun.

  3. Still remain hopefully optimistic in greater availability of vaccinations throughout USA from now until August. That there are now 4 vaccines available just one year later is scientifically stunning. I am planning to compete & hopefully see my fellow “hurdle crew” at Natl’s & NSG this Summer. Really missed seeing fellow sprint/hurdle/multi competitors in 2020. Continue to train, build up those immune systems……………….and get vaccinated.

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