Alexander County, NC to Offer Last Chance Qualifier for the 2021 U.S. National 24-Hour Team | Sports Destination Management

Alexander County, NC to Offer Last Chance Qualifier for the 2021 U.S. National 24-Hour Team

Apr 27, 2021

The 2021 U.S. National 24-Hour team qualification window has been extended through May 2, which is five calendar months prior to the rescheduled date of the 2021 IAU World 24-Hour Championship. Alexander County will host a last-chance qualifying 24-hour race on May 1-2 at 8:00 a.m. at the Alexander Central High School Track at 223 School Drive in Taylorsville. The course has been certified with USATF (USA Track and Field) and IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).

Participants have been registering, representing North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, and California and even Ontario, Canada.

The field of competition will be limited to 50 participants. Thirty-eight slots are open for general entry via UltraSignup at Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28. Twelve slots will be reserved for athletes wanting to, and capable of, qualifying for the National Team. The reserved slots will be offered to female athletes who have run 115 miles or longer at a fixed time race within the last 18 months and male athletes who have run 130 miles or longer at a fixed time race within the last 18 months. All participants are expected to pay the $125 entry fee.

Race Director Rick French of Alexander County will be at the helm in collaboration with other NC-based runners, timing companies, and USATF professionals. French’s ultra-running pedigree goes back to the early 1990s. He is an early member of the North Carolina-based Mangum Track Club. French and his Alexander County team have successfully hosted many successful events in Alexander County over the years including the popular Vertical Mile Challenge races at Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area.

“This is a very unique event and we are excited to host it here in Alexander County,” said French. “There will be some world-class runners visiting Alexander County during this event and we look forward to providing a world-class experience for them.”

Collaborators for the race include Brandon Wilson and Brad Smythe.

Wilson of Wilson Timing Company is an NC-based USATF/RRTC Certifier, IAAF/AIMS (A) measurer, and USATF official. Wilson will be assisting with various logistical and planning aspects of the race, including certifying the track with governing bodies USATF and IAAF. He has been involved in many fixed-time ultras over the last 10 years and has officiated races, certified courses, and timed events producing national records and world’s-best performances including both recent 100-mile world’s-bests records by Camille Herron in Vienna, IL and Zach Bitter in Milwaukee, WI.

Smythe of Clockwork Race Timing is an NC-based USATF/RRTC Certifier and IAAF/AIMS (B) measurer who will be providing live chip timing for participants. Smythe has been part of the NC Ultra community for approximately 20 years and is currently 15th for all-time mileage at Hinson Lake 24 Hour. He has been a race timer for many years and has timed hundreds of events including other NC-based fixed-time races Cape Fear 24 Hour and Hinson Lake 24 Hour.

Participants can expect this team to put on a first-class, USATF-sanctioned, certified event that will be records eligible. Every aspect of the event will be fine-tuned to ensure that athletes aiming for the National Team or a PR are provided the best venue and opportunity for doing so.

USATF and all state and local ordinances and orders pertaining to COVID-19 will be followed. Crewing areas will be available at the track edge. Crewing areas will be limited to a 10’ x 10’ area per participant and separated by six feet from the next crewing area.

There will be a basic aid station with water, electrolyte drinks, and basic pre-packaged, single-serve/self-serve food. There will be limited hot food consisting of pizza at night, broth, coffee, and soup. Athletes should come prepared to take care of any special dietary needs and bring any additional food items they require. The race will provide a basic aid station designed to assist an athlete with nutrition. The aid station will not be set up to serve three meals during the event.

There will be flood-lighting at the track, so runners should not need to wear a headlamp. Port-a-jons will be conveniently located adjacent to the track to ensure competitive athletes can quickly and conveniently access restroom facilities.

While this is event is being organized to assist athletes with a last chance to qualify for the 2021 National Team, the event will be open to athletes of all levels. All athletes will have access to all six lanes during the competition; however, participants not entered for the purposes of competing for a team spot are asked, not required, to yield lane #1 to athletes who are competing for team spots.

There will be only one contest of 24 hours. There will be no lesser contests of six hours or 12 hours offered. All athletes who complete at least one lap will receive a place based on distance completed in 24 hours. Distance ties will be broken by the athlete who completed the distance in the least clock time based on gun start time. Overall awards will be presented to the first-place male and first-place female. All of the USATF rules of competition apply and will be strictly enforced. Final results will be reported to USATF and UltraSignup.

All National records achieved will be reported to USATF for ratification within 10 calendar days from the conclusion of competition. All World’s-best records performances will be reported to the IAU for ratification within 10 calendar days from the conclusion of the competition

According to USATF rules, any athlete attempting for a record is required to declare that to the event prior to the competition. Any athlete attempting a World’s-best performance is required to coordinate their own WADA anti-doping testing via USATF in accordance with IAU guidelines. Questions regarding records requirements should be directed to Rick French and Brandon Wilson.

For questions or additional information, visit, or email Rick French at and/or Brandon Wilson at Keep up-to-date on the Facebook event page at

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