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RRTC Annual Meeting Minutes

Here are the long awaited Minutes. I'm starting a new thread for this, instead of posting them way at the end of the previous "News From the Annual Meeting" thread. Also, even if you've already downloaded the Officers Reports at I suggest downloading them again because I've reposted them with addition of the Workshops report, which was missing from the previous version. The Minutes follow:

Road Running Technical Council Minutes
USATF Annual Meeting
Honolulu, HI – December 1, 2007

Attending: Bob Baumel, Demetrio Cabanillas, Bill Cobler, Kim Cobler, Al Dausman, Fred Finke, Jim Gerweck, Norm Green, Irene Herman, Lena Hollmann, David Katz, Jack Kegg, Justin Kuo, Rod Larsen, Carol McLatchie, David Monti, Al Morris, Lester Mount, Carole Newman, Gene Newman, Floyd Ormsby, Ron Pate, Dan Pierce, Rick Recker, Stu Riegel, Bill Roe, Laura Schwartz, Don Shepan, Steve Vaitones.

The meeting was called to order at 08:37 by RRTC Chairman Gene Newman. Gene began the meeting by explaining the basic function of our Council—to ensure accuracy of road running courses. He introduced the people at the head table and other long-time measurers and certifiers, pointing out that we didn’t have our whole contingent at this meeting.

Officers’ reports were presented or, for officers not present at the meeting, summarized by Gene. These reports are available at and will not be repeated here.

One topic mentioned in several of the reports was the Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials held in New York City in November on a multi-loop “criterium” course, resulting in a very exciting race (The Women’s Trials, to be held in Boston in April, will be on a similar criterium course). Several RRTC officers participated in measuring and validating the Men’s Trials course. David Katz provided additional details about the development and measurement of this course, which required a year to design and obtain all approvals from the city. Measurement was done in the middle of the night. As an interesting “nerdy” note, timing stations were set up every 5 km, but were used for recording the times of every runner on every lap of the multi-loop course, resulting in 48 intermediate splits for each runner. See detailed results on the USATF site.

Awards were presented for the RRTC Measurement-by-Pacing contest, reviving a tradition that was interrupted when we skipped it the last two years (2005 and 2006) but had originated in Honolulu in 1987, the previous occasion when USATF ( “TAC” at the time) held its Convention in Honolulu. For this year’s pacing contest, a short test course was laid out behind the Sheraton Waikiki by Jim Gerweck, Ron Pate and Masha Kuo (Justin Kuo’s daughter). Floyd Ormsby was the top pacer, estimating the distance with an error of only 0.011%. Prizes, consisting of puka shell leis and Honolulu Marathon shirts and hats, were presented to the winners by Ron Pate.

Gene mentioned a number of news items and RRTC policy issues:

The policy on interpretation of “Validation” measurements was revised this summer, bringing the USATF policy in line with IAAF policy, and eliminating a discrepancy between our procedures for pre-race and post-race validation measurements. The updated policy has been posted at

It was decided this year that certifiers will always write both a course’s Expiration Date and its Certification Number on the course map (Writing the Certification Number on the map has been RRTC policy since 1997, but adding the Expiration Date is new). There had also been a suggestion to include Drop and Separation on the map, but this is unnecessary because Drop and Separation are always available using the Certified Course Search Engine on the USATF site. (Many people had been unaware that Drop and Separation were available in the Search Engine. Therefore, following this meeting, Keith Lively, the USATF webmaster, enhanced the Search Engine to make it easier to display Drop and Separation.)

On use of GPS measurements, the policy adopted last year remains in effect. GPS is permitted only for measuring a calibration course, and only if it’s a professional quality instrument and actually used by a licensed surveyor. GPS is not acceptable for measurements of race courses. While course measurements using some of the newer GPS models are, under ideal conditions, more accurate than results obtained with older models, they still don’t meet the standards for road course certification.

To address the decreasing availability of parts (especially the gear drives) used in making Jones Counters, Tom and Pete Riegel have designed a new version of the counter based on a custom fabricated gear drive. This new model, called the “JR” (Jones/Riegel) counter, isn’t available yet, but the design is complete, and production is expected to begin around February or March when all of the parts become available (the price hasn’t been determined yet). A drawing of the new counter was passed around at the meeting. As an advantage of this new (axle-mounted) counter, the counter is oriented correctly for the rider to read without cranking his/her head sideways. For more information, see the Course Measurement Bulletin Board at and the new Jones Counter site at

As another alternative to the traditional Jones Counter, limited approval was granted last year to use certain commercially available electronic cyclocomputers which, with some trickery, can be adapted to serve as revolution counters in the calibrated bicycle method. This approach has been advocated for several years by Neville Wood and has found favor with a number of experienced measurers, but can be problematic for new measurers whose work must be reviewed sight-unseen by a regional certifier. The limited approval granted last year remains in effect: Any new measurer who wishes to try this “electronic” method must first contact Gene or one of the Vice-Chairs or Neville.

Tire pressure monitoring for the purpose of avoiding recalibration remains experimental and has not been approved. Few people besides Neville have tried this. Gene said he doesn’t see much difficulty in doing a postcalibration. RRTC’s standard measuring methodology continues to require recalibration of the bicycle.

Gene emphasized that all RRTC officers and certifiers should be USATF members. We can’t force anybody to join USATF, but we encourage it strongly, as RRTC receives financial and other support from USATF; also, membership in USATF provides insurance that may be useful when measuring courses (see more about insurance issues below). RRTC officers don’t get listed on the USATF website if they aren’t USATF members.

USATF president Bill Roe expressed strong support for RRTC, which has had to endure some difficult issues during the last few years. Bill described RRTC as one of the least political groups in USATF—and he intends to keep it that way. He said RRTC has done a great job bringing the road race community closer to USATF. He wants to continue shielding RRTC from politics, to avoid harming one of USATF’s best products. Bill also praised the job that Gene has been doing since his appointment as RRTC Chair two years ago.

David Katz raised an idea which has been suggested at various times in the past—that RRTC certifiers and/or measurers be recognized in some way as USATF Certified Officials. David stated that Linda Melzer, chair of the USATF Officials Committee, has expressed willingness to create a category of “Certified Road Course Surveyor” in cooperation with RRTC. Bill Roe cautioned that for this to be acceptable, RRTC would need to retain the ability to say who gets the status. Questions were raised whether people chosen to receive this status would need to pass Officials’ tests, and whether they’d have to pay fees, noting that for track and field officials, the fees are often paid by their Associations. Mention of Associations raised the concern about politicizing RRTC, which Bill Roe warned about in his comments. David expressed hope that the proposed new category of officials can be implemented by working with the Officials Committee at the national level only, without involving the Associations. Additional discussion concerned the possibility that recognizing course measurers as USATF Officials may provide benefits from USATF insurance coverage. Irene Herman, chair of the USATF Insurance Committee, weighed in by suggesting that such benefits may exist.

Note: On this issue of USATF insurance coverage, Gene Newman made numerous inquiries following the meeting, and eventually determined that a measurer’s status as a Certified Official wouldn’t make any difference regarding the extent of coverage from USATF insurance policies. Factors that can make a difference include whether the race has been sanctioned and whether the measurer is a USATF member. A statement on USATF insurance policy as it applies to course measurers has been posted now at

David Katz also mentioned that, in his status as a member of the IAAF Technical Committee, he is involved in a study of transponder (“chip”) timing systems, with a goal of developing IAAF standards for such systems. The timing companies are all cooperating with this project, which is part of a bigger effort on IAAF device standards, and is expected to take about a year. In RRTC, David is the Finish Line chair. According to USATF Rules, transponder timing systems used in road and cross country races need to be approved by RRTC’s finish line subcommittee (In practice, Mike Wickiser is the RRTC member who has done most of the work in evaluating timing systems for this purpose).

Carol McLatchie expressed disappointment that a women’s group prevalidation ride wasn’t held this time for the women’s marathon trials course. In the past, such group rides have been a great way to inspire women as measurers. In response, Gene observed that money was limited; also, we currently have only one woman certifier, Jane Parks, who did a great job but lacked the resources (including financial) to conduct a group measurement. Gene noted that New York and Boston did great jobs helping financially for the people who did the work, but for the future, we should consider getting event sponsors to agree to support group prevalidation rides.

Carol mentioned that she visited recently with former RRTC officers Wayne and Sally Nicoll, and that Wayne is currently on memory medication.

Steve Vaitones urged certifiers to be more proactive in maintaining communication with the USATF Association(s) in their area, pointing out that some Associations think there’s a disconnect. As a possible solution, certifiers might send an annual report to Associations in their area. The report could be sent to the Association LDR chairs or overall chairs. Topics covered in such a report can include number of courses certified, any special problems encountered, info on how to get a course certified, the difference between sanction & certification and the importance of getting both, etc. Steve promised to prepare a sample report and send it to Gene. Subsequent discussion included positive comments. As additional ideas to improve communication, it was suggested that certification info be added to Association web pages (Keith Lively would need to program this), and that RRTC have a presence at Association workshop meetings.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:01.

Minutes prepared by Bob Baumel, RRTC Secretary
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