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Begin forwarded message:

> From: Phil Stewart <>
> Date: March 15, 2005 8:28:21 AM EST
> To:
> Cc:,
> Subject: Re: Course theft
> Ownership is a tough issue for events because it is difficult to
> ascertain exactly what is owned -- is it the name of the event, is it
> the course? Often it is the ability to get a permit. I don't believe
> there is much in the way of legal protections other than trademarking
> the name of the event. I believe that the Road Running Technical
> Committee does not convey ownership when it certifies a course. It
> makes the certificates available to anyone who uses requests.
> I will forward this on for comment to Carl Sniffen who covers legal
> issues for me and Jim Gerweck of the RRTC to confirm the stance of the
> RRTC. If it is ok, I may run your message and their responses as a
> short item in the newsletter.
> At 07:12 PM 3/14/2005, you wrote:
> Phil:
> I am a race director in the Twin Cities and long-time subscriber to
> Road Race Management. We recently discovered that an event sponsored
> by our "friends" at Running Room had "borrowed" the course for our
> August 10K/5K for their March event. We own the USATF certification,
> and have staged our event on our course every year since 1978. Clearly
> it is bad manners on their part, but do you know of any case studies
> showing if we might have any legal standing against this sort of
> course poaching? This is potentially a huge issue for those of us who
> make our livings as event directors. If someone can simply take our
> course (okay, they moved the finish line 30 feet), then we lose a big
> part of what makes our event unique. Especially since this rival event
> is always poorly managed, it could potentially cause people to confuse
> their efforts with our efforts.
> Any help or direction where to turn would be appreciated!
> Chris Fuller
> President
> The Sporting Life
> (651) 228-1986 ext. 2
> FAX (612) 605-0063

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I've heard several arguments pro and con about multiple races using the same certified course. I can see both sides of the argument and I try to stay out of it.

Occasionally, I am approached by a race director seeking a course, usually a charitable event with little resources. I point them to the Certified Courses on the USATF web pages and suggest that, as a courtesy, they could offer some token payment to the organization that originally absorbed the cost of measuring and certifying the course.
I have two local events (one has a great deal of resources and not much know how on course set-up, the other has a great RD who knows lots about courses but slightly less resources available) who are teaming up to have me measure their course for certification.

I agree that a token payment on the part of a RD who 'borrows' a course would be a good thing.

If the other RD moved their finish line 30 feet, they did not use the certified course and cannot claim the course to be a certified one since it did not use the exact start/finish points. There may be a case of 'fraud' on the part of the borrower who says they are using a certified course.

Case in point: A road race near Pensacola claims certification on their advertising but does not have the cert number on their advertising, nor does the course exist on USATF. The RD can not tell me who certified her course, but says this is her first year as RD (lie - I ran in her race the previous year).

An e-mail inquiry asking for copies of the certificate led to no response.

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