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Remember the National Running Data Center? One wonderful thing about that organization, the creation of Ken Young, was that it pushed both course certification and the gathering of road race results into a central library. Publications of records, rankings, and "notable performances" were derived from material in that central library. This was in the pre-Internet 1980s.

I wish there were a similar entity now. The power of the Internet would allow the entire library to be available to anyone, anytime. The certification status of the each race could be included with the results from that race---not only the certification code, and the name of the measurer, but the name of the individual who attests that the course was set up according to the race map on race day. (What's the point of a certified course without race results from a race that used the course?) The certification process, in a sense, wouldn't be complete until the results of a race using the course became part of the central library. Any race that wanted to be thought of as a serious competition would use a certified course and send its results to the central library. All sorts of histories and compilations of records, rankings and various sorts of comparisons could be assembled from that library.

Running USA, in concert with the the Road Running Information Center and the USATF, seemed to be moving in the direction of an Internet version of the old National Running Data Center, but that effort seems to have dissolved. Or am I missing something?

Maybe money was a problem. I would think that such a center would have to display advertising in order to pay the bills, but would also have to be connected with a central governing body such as the USATF in order to be accepted as the valid central site and the keeper of records.

Is anyone else out there interested in seeing something like this established? Or does it already exist but has escaped my attention?

David Reik, 87 Wood Pond Rd., West Hartford, CT 06107,
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One reason NRDC worked so well was that Ken Young was hugely proactive in contacting and convincing race directors to send him their results. In RRIC, Ryan Lamppa worked in a similar manner. In both organizations, the number of race results obtained was only a fraction of the races run. The race organizations were either unaware of the need for information or simply did not care to send it.

Complicating this, when a fast time was run, the race directors were sent applications for records, which contained lots of questions that required work to answer. This was not a welcome chore for many race directors.

We have a tight group of course certifiers, and have succeeded in making available all that we know about what’s certified and what is not. This information does not readily cross over to race information. We are never certain exactly which course is used for which race. This is known only to the race directors. Their knowledge is often incomplete. After a few years goes by the original course measurement certificate and course map get lost as race directors change, and all that remains are paint marks on the road and a vague recollection that “the course is certified.”

David’s idea is an attractive one, but one that will need somebody to continually beat on the heads of all the race directors to get their results.

The race directors’ main goal is to provide a good racing experience for their runners, and they put in hard work toward this. Anything that adds to their work is unwelcome. They need to be shown what they will gain by doing the extra work of cooperating in this venture. It has to be more than altruism. Doing good is desirable, but by putting on a race they have already done a good thing, They may not wish to do more.

It’s a good idea. Who is out there to make it go? Any volunteers?
It is now years later, I in La La land not knowing you guys have been discussing this nor even knowing the NRDC was out of business. I simply looked this up when wanting the proper wording to suggest an information source to the relatively new search engine, WolframAlpha. It is pretty neat but really doesn't know too much yet. A pity it cannot learn the information from what was the NRDC. I started racing again recently and have been appalled by the poor race technical amenities. I have found a few with certified courses but no one was posting results to a 'higher order.' I don't know what to do. If you reopen this discussion I would be happy to participate.
Ken Young is alive and well, and continues his work in the area of road running statistics. Those interested in the past can download and read past issues of NRDC News at

Ken presently is active in the Association of Road Running Statisticians, and publishes an online newsletter, described as follows:

SUBSCRIPTIONS: THE ANALYTICAL DISTANCE RUNNER is distributed by e-mail only, on a more or less weekly basis, depending on race results received and business trips. Under normal circumstances, ADR is available by Wednesday with analyses of race results from the previous weekend.

For a one year subscription to ADR, please send US$20 cash or check to:

Ken Young
PO Box 219
Petrolia CA 95558

Comments, suggestions, corrections, or requests for additional statistical information will generally receive a prompt reply if you use e-mail.

The Analytical Distance Runner is the newsletter for the Association of Road Racing Statisticians with a focus on races, 3000m and longer, including road, track, and crosscountry events. Male runners who have achieved a sub-30:00 time for 10K road or the equivalent, and female runners who have achieved a sub-35:00 time for 10K road or the equivalent are tracked. These criteria include virtually all world and national class open runners and many top masters runners.

The URL for the ARRS website is

This newsletter serves to highlite many of the changes to the ARRS website. ARRS members may submit brief articles of current interest for possible inclusion in the newsletter. Updated and new web pages are uploaded at the end of the working day (California time).

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