Pacific Assocation of USA Track and Field


FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the Pacific Association?

A1. The Pacific Association is a member association of USA Track & Field (USATF). Its geographical boundaries stretch from the California-Oregon border on the north to San Luis Obispo in central California on the south, to just beyond Reno, Nevada on the east. Go to About PA/USATF on the front page for much more information.

Q2. What is USA Track & Field?

A2. USATF is the national governing body for long distance running, cross-country, race walking and track & field. This means it is a rule-making and enforcing organization. Without rules athletes are unable to compete fairly, achieve standards or set records. USATF is also heavily involved in developmental programs for youth athletes and post-collegiate elite athletes. It is the only long distance running, cross-country, race walking and track & field organization recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Q3. Where can I find the USATF Rules for Competition?

A3. Go to Competition Rules on the USATF website.

Q4. Why should I join the Pacific Association?

A4. By joining the Pacific Association you will:

  • Support the sports disciplines listed above and their athlete development programs;
  • Receive a membership in the national USATF Association;
  • Be eligible to compete and score points in the many Pacific Association and National USATF championship competition;
  • Have the opportunity to become a certified track & field, distance running, and/or race walking official;
  • Receive member benefits that include event participation insurance, a subscription to California Track & Running News, a subscription to Fast Forward (the national USATF quarterly magazine), and more!
Q5. What activities are provided and supported by the Pacific Association?

A5. This is a summary of a more detailed answer found under the front page link About PA/USATF.
The Pacific Association oversees and administers region-wide programs for all ages in track & field, long distance running, cross country, and race walking.

  • The largest PA/USATF membership component comprises youth athletes (ages 18 and under), who compete in track & field, cross country and race walking competitions. PA/USATF supports them with regional events that lead up to national Junior Olympic competitions.
  • The Pacific Association sanctions and provides liability insurance to approximately 300 athletic events in our region annually.
  • The Pacific Association has about 5,000 athlete members-the largest of all the USATF associations and over 125 member athletic clubs.
  • The PA/USATF annual budget of almost $250,000 is by far the largest of all the USATF associations.
    – The PA plays an important role in the production of a number of locally held national championship events such as the Olympic Track & Field Trials, the NCAA Division 1 Track & Field Championships, the Golden West Invitational, the 50-km US Trail Run Championship, and many youth track & field and cross-country championships.
Q6. How do I become a member of the Pacific Association and what does it cost?

A6. Membership Fees

1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years
Adults $30.00 $55.00 $80.00 $100.00
Youth (18 & under) $20.00 $40.00 $60.00 $80.00

You may register online or download and fill out an application form (in pdf acrobat format) and mail it in. You may also contact the Pacific Association office to have a membership form mailed to you.

Q7. How does my club become a member of the Pacific Association and what does it cost?

A7. The annual fee for a club, no matter what its size, is $75. Club membership application forms are on line, or contact the Pacific Association office to have one sent to you.

Q8. When does my membership expire?

A8. Memberships (both clubs and individuals) expire on December 31. New members who join on November 1 receive a membership that will not expire until December 31 of the following year.

Q9. What is the difference between USATF, CIF (California Interscholastic Federation), and AAU (Amateur Athletic Union)?

A9. USATF is the National Governing Body for Track & Field in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. CIF is the governing body for all of California high school sports programs. The AAU is now a private organization that encompasses 37 different sports including mainstream football, basketball, track & field and activities like clogging, baton twirling, and trampoline. Only scheduling or restrictions from schools would prevent a club or an athlete from competing in events staged by these three organizations.

Q10. What is the difference between the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) and USATF?

A10. USATF is the national governing body for track & field, long distance running, and race walking. It makes, oversees, and enforces the rules that keep the playing field level for the athletes. It also has a major commitment to athlete development particularly youth and post-collegiate elite athletes. USATF, usually through its member associations, has a major role in national championship events, officials’ certifications, course certifications and event sanctions.
The RRCA is an umbrella association of distance running clubs throughout the U.S. It provides guidelines for starting clubs and running programs, annual awards, and runner safety classes. It sponsors several annual championship road racing events and provides four elite post-collegiate runners financial aid each year through their “Roads Scholarship” program.

Q11. How can I find a PA/USATF-registered club to join?

A11. PA-registered clubs are so indicated under Clubs on the front page of this web site.

Q12. I do not live within the boundaries of the Pacific Association. Can I become a PA/USATF member and compete in PA/USATF Grand Prix events?

A12. An exception to a PA residency requirement is allowed if the Pacific Association and the USATF Association where the athlete resides mutually agree to allow the athlete to be a member of PA/USATF and compete in PA/USATF championship/Grand Prix competition as a member of a PA/USATF club or unattached. Under no circumstances will a club or member enrolled with a non-Pacific association be allowed to score in PA/USATF Grand Prix competition.

Q13. How can I start a PA/USATF club?

A13. A detailed description of how to start a PA/USATF club can also be found in the club submenu on the front page.

Q14. How can I organize a PA/USATF event?

A14. Many types of events are held in the Pacific Association (road races, cross-country, ultra running, track & field meets, race walking competitions). Contact the Committee Chair involved in the type of event you are interested in organizing for information.

Q15. What does it mean if an event is “sanctioned”?

A15. This refers to a contract between the event and USATF. USATF provides liability insurance and agrees to arbitrate any rule violations. The event agrees to follow USATF rules and take the necessary precautions to provide for the safety and medical needs for all participants. Go to the Sanction Info button on the main page for more information and for sanction forms.

Q16. What does “certified” mean?

A16. This refers to the accurate measurement of a venue (track facility, road race, cross-country, ultra distance, race walk course,) so that the times and marks established at the venue can be used for official statistics such as records and rankings. For more information go to certification at

Q17. What does “unattached” mean?

A17. This refers to athletes who compete without having a club affiliation.

Q18. I want to change clubs. When can I compete for my new club?

A18. An athlete desiring to change from one club to another must wait 90 days to change club affiliation.

  • For athletes competing in the Pacific Association Grand Prix competitions, the mandatory 90 day wait begins from the date of the athlete’s last competition in a PA/USATF Grand Prix/Championship race for the athlete’s former club.
  • The 90-day rule also applies if an athlete changes affiliation between Grand Prix seasons, or from one calendar year to the next.
  • The PA/USATF office must be advised in writing (USPS mail, fax or email) of a change in club prior to the date of the first race in which the athlete competes for a new club.
  • Contact Heike Mansoor: email – [email protected]; fax 916-983-4624; USPS – Pacific Association, 120 Ponderosa Ct., Folsom, CA 95630.
    • If the athlete is under the age of 18 the legal guardian must submit on behalf of the youth athlete a written request to Heike Mansoor to make the change.
  • There are a few exceptions noted in Section III, Regulation 7 Representation.,c. Transfers 2 of the USATF Governance Manual.
Q19. Can an athlete who begins the first rounds of qualifying for the Junior Olympics as an unattached athlete then join a club team between Championships?

A19. An unattached athlete may join a club between championships, but the relay team roster rule prevents that new athlete from running on a relay team after it is submitted at the Pacific Association Junior Olympic meet.

Q20. I am a high school coach. Can I also be a PA/USATF coach?

A20. Yes, but you need to check with your school first because some schools do not allow you to do both.

Q21. Who is required to have a background check?

A21. Any coaches, officials, and/or ALL volunteers (such as drivers, club contact personnel, etc.) who will be involved with youth. The Pacific association requires Livescan background checks and will reimburse fees IF the official, coach, or volunteer has joined PA/USATF or renewed PA/USATF membership by March 31 of the year.

Q22. What are the oldest and youngest ages of youth allowed to compete at a Youth Meet?

A22. Nobody age 19 or over may compete in the Youth Age Group Division. For a National Junior Olympics, a youth may not have reached his or her 19th birthday until after the last day of the competition. Please note that the “Youth” category below is a specific age group within the Youth Age Group Divisions. There is no lower limit on age.

Q23. What are the USATF Youth Age Group Divisions?

A23. Youth age division for both boys and girls are based on the year the youth was born, in 2-year increments. Hence, the descriptions change each year. For 2020 the divisions are:

  • Sub-Bantams: Born 2012 or later;
  • Bantams: Born 2010 or 2011;
  • Midgets: Born 2008 or 2009;
  • Youth: Born 2006 or 2007;
  • Intermediates: Born 2004 or 2005;
  • Young: Born 2002 or 2003.
Q24. What are the USATF adult age divisions?


  • Open Men: 16-39
  • Open Women: 14-39
  • For both Men and Women –
    • Masters: 40-49;
    • Seniors: 50-59;
    • Super Seniors: 60-69;
    • Veterans: 70 & over.

The World Masters recently changed the masters category age to 35 and older for both men and women, and it is possible the same change will be made in USATF.

Q25. Can a youth compete and score in a USATF open event?

A25. Girls 14 years and Boys 16 years and older may compete and score in open events.

Q26. How do I find officials for my event?

A26. Contact information for the officials is listed on the main page Officials menu.

Q27. What are the uniform requirements for Pacific Association competitions?

A27. The detailed answer for both adult and youth competitions can be found in the USATF Competition Rules, Articles III & IV. These rules should be read by all athletes and coaches. Here is a brief summary of the basic rules: a) matching, same color uniforms with a club emblem clearly displayed should be worn by team members in all team competitions. b) Bib numbers must be clearly visible and worn on the front of the uniform (exception: pole vaulters and high jumpers may wear their bib numbers on the back of the uniform).

Q28. Do I have to bring my own implements for field events (youth, open, masters)?

A28. At youth meets, the only athletes required to bring their own implements are pole vaulters and javelin throwers. All other regulation implements are provided at the meet. Most adult meets do not supply implements (unless otherwise stated in meet entry information), and athletes bring their own implements. The implements are subject to being certified to verify standard specifications and, in all but Masters competitions, become useable by any one in the meet. In some meets particularly national championships, some of the meet implements are provided.

Updated 1/5/2020