Yeah, I could see some method for qualifying rounds making more sense than finals. Still, my personal feeling is that, even in qualifying rounds, first X across the line should qualify. Unless someone is automatically thrown into the time qualifiers field for a minor infraction that results into a time penalty.
If nothing else, I’m finding this an interesting thought experiment.
I understand the situation for officials. When do you DQ and when do you not? Where do you draw the line if there is some jostling, which is common on indoor tracks? Stepping out of your lane or inside the track seems like a no brainer but there is something about that Birmingham track. At the very least, athletes should be granted access to the track before competition starts so they can get a feel for it. Not all tracks are the same, especially indoors.
I’ve never run a race where any awards are decided by age grading and I think I would avoid any that did if I knew before signing up. I’m not at all a fan of that idea. I don’t even like when chip timing changes the order of finish in the results.