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How long should it take to get a newly certified course listed at the USATF Certified Course Search web site ( Could the parallel discussion here about a “paperless certification files” address this issue as well?

Currently it seems to take at least 4-6 weeks for a course to hit the initial registrar’s list. Another 8-12 weeks to get listed at the USATF course list. And finally, 8-12 weeks more to have the course map available. What can be done to speed up the process?

The USATF Certified Course Search web site seems to be an important tool for runners for a number of reasons like looking for a certified marathon course as a Boston qualifier or researching the course status of their next race. The more current the course list data, the more value it would have to runners.

Granted, certifiers only pay $3.00 per course to have the certificate and map filed and listed. Should this fee increase to cover the cost of new technology efficient upgrades to speed up the process?
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When I started to measure for certification it sometimes took a month or six weeks to get a response. I found this dispiriting.

Now we do better, but what is reasonable?

When I buy something on the internet many of the receipts say it will be shipped in two business days. This is fine with me. I think it should be a decent goal for certifiers. It could stretch to a week or more in unusual circumstances, but not as a general thing. After all, we are paid a fee for review, and the old excuse “I’m just a volunteer” doesn’t wash. If you really want to certify courses, it should be something other than a chore to be put off until you are in the mood.

Here’s how it ought to work in my perfect world:

Time for certifier to respond to a submission: 2 days. This includes answering questions and sending desired corrections. Once all needed information is in hand – two days to produce and mail the certificate.

The certificate to the vice chair should be mailed at the same time as the certificate to the measurer.

The vice chair should forward received courses to the registrar weekly. No certificate should sit at the vice chair’s place for more than a week.

The registrar should do the data entry and scanning under the same two day constraint.

Now we get to where things are out of RRTC control. The registrar periodically sends a CD full of maps to USATF, and they update the searchable course engine. I have no idea how often this is done.

As the weekly throughput of courses does not justify sending a CD each week, I think once a month is about right for the registrar to send information to the registrar. At the same time, the course list on the RRTC web page should be updated.

If we were all networked electronically, and we all knew how to use it, we might perhaps speed things up. But we must cope with the world as it is, and not as we might wish it to be.

Thus, I think there will always be a time lag between certification and public knowledge of same.

My time estimates may seem stringent or lax depending on one’s perspective. Does anyone have a better idea?

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