Event Sanctions


matt_merrill_usatf_shirt.jpgSanctions Chair: Matt Merrill
Address: Contact Matt for his address if needed
Phone: 585-313-1465
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I have enjoyed my first two years serving as the Sanctions Chairperson for USATF Niagara. The USATF National office now requires all sanction applications be submitted online. Click HERE to complete your sanction online!   As a service to our Race Directors, USATF Niagara will continue to receive paper forms and checks, but has added a $35 service charge to do so, please contact Matt for details. I encourage all race directors to familiarize themselves with the forms linked to the right.  The paper forms will help you get an idea of what the online questions will ask. If you have any questions regarding the new online sanction process, I am happy to answer those questions for you.  

In general, it is wise to start thinking about applying for a sanction 6 months in advance and some race directors may find 9 - 12 months helpful as well.  It is strongly encouraged to allow at least 1 month prior to the event for the process to be completed.  This helps alleviate stress and late fees associated with rushing insurance documents.  In an emergency situation, sanctions may be approved in less time, but please try to plan accordingly.

Feel free to contact Matt with any questions or concerns you may have.  Thank you

What is a Sanction?

A USATF Sanction is an official designation issued by USATF, through the Niagara Association, which approves and licenses the holding of a competitive track & field, long distance running or race walking event in the United States. The Sanction is also a contract, which evidences the event's commitment to follow the rules and regulations of the sport and provide a safe environment for the participants, volunteers, and spectators. Once the event has satisfied the Sanction requirements, completed and signed the required forms, paid the appropriate fees, then the event's Application for Sanction is approved and issued an official sanction number.

Sanction Objective: A safe and well managed athletic event.
The Sanction is an agreement between an event organizer and USATF to ensure that the event is properly conducted. This includes the requirements for:

  • Providing appropriate safety and medical precautions to protect the welfare of athletes, volunteers, and spectators
  • Safeguarding the athletes amateur status and eligibility 
  • Compliance with USATF rules and IAAF rules for Elite Sanction events
  • Appropriate provisions for validation of records

A Waiver and Assumption of Risk clause in the event application, to be acknowledged and signed by each participant.

Inclusion of the Sanctioned Event Logo for that year.

Benefits of Sanctioning Your Event:

Increased Prestige - For many events, the USATF sanction improves the event's public perception. A sanction tells athletes that an event is being run according to applicable competition rules. Sanctioned events have the ability to use the USATF event designation logo to promote the fact that the governing body has sanctioned the event.

Liability Insurance - Most governmental entities including cities, counties, state highway departments, parks and community centers require general liability insurance for all events. The cost of a Sanction is very inexpensive compared to the prices of most event insurance policies. It is important to know that events that are already insured may choose to waive the insurance coverage and pay a lower sanction fee.

Medical Insurance for Athletes - Any athlete who is a USATF member and is injured while participating in a sanctioned event will be eligible for secondary medical insurance coverage for the injury. This insurance not only provides valuable coverage to USATF members, but it serves as a valuable deterrent to lawsuits.

Calendar Promotion - Sanctioned events will be included in the online calendars of USATF Niagara and National and be highlighted to distinguish them from non-sanctioned events.  If your event is run on a USATF Certified course, your event will be linked to the course map.

Records - A USATF Sanction is required for any American or World Record to be set.

Resolving Disputes - If requested, USATF will act as an arbiter in disputes between athletes and sanctioned events.

Considerations to Keep in Mind When Applying for Sanction:

Send in your completed and signed Application for Sanction 6 Months prior to your event, get it approved, listed on the Niagara Association and USATF calendars, include Sanctioned Event logo and line for USATF member # on event entry form and website, and have Certificates of Liability Insurance issued.

Question #7 on the Application for Sanction requires detailed information about what you are doing to ensure safety of runners, volunteers and spectators, i.e. Trained EMT's will provide medical assistance at the finish area, we will have Police and Road Marshals monitoring and directing traffic & runners at intersections along the course for course safety (our course route is closed to vehicle traffic and well marked), we will provide hydration and nutrient replenishment before, during and after the event, an indoor facility /shelter is available for medical emergencies, registration and awards, for inclement weather, port-o-potties, etc. etc.  Please attach a separate sheet if needed.

Each Request for Certificate of Liability Insurance needs complete directory information for Third Parties, contact person, full address, phone, fax, and e-mail.  

The USATF logo for Sanctioned Event MUST appear on all printed and website event materials.  List your event as Our Event is Sanctioned by USATF. You may also want to include a space for USATF members to write down their membership number. This helps to establish who is a USATF member on the day of your event and has earned additional insurance coverage.

Contact Us

David Reinhardt
Association President
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