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I was contacted by an IAAF “A” measurer. He had been asked by his IAAF regional administrator to measure a course. He asked me for my opinion concerning what happened.

During the measurement he had a flat tire. His travel circumstances did not leave him time to fix the flat and re-do the measurement. Instead, he used the data of the lead rider. He rode behind the rider and saw that the lead rider rode properly.

When he submitted his data to his IAAF regional administrator he was told that the measurement could not be approved because the lead rider was not IAAF accredited.

The race director wants him to either refund the travel and expense money, or visit again and measure at his own expense.

I sent him the opinion he asked for. What’s yours?
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Boy this is a stinky scenario. I see both sides as I'm a measurer and RD. When I'm measuring the RD I'm measuring for is my customer, and I do everything possible to ensure 100% satisfaction and have to eat it when bad things happen that are out of my control.

As a matter of customer service I'd suck up the extra trip on my dime and advise anyone to do the same. It stinks but if you pay for a service you have a reasonable expectation of delivery.

If you ordered a steak and were told they were out of steak after you ordered you wouldn't expect to see the charge for a steak on your bill.
Nasty scenario! That's one reason I use airless tires.

But, while I understand the measurer's dilemma, one shouldn't schedule a measurement with no time available for problems. To help others avoid the issue, they should have patch equipment, and a plan for a flat situation. Set out a calibration-check course nearby (calibrate wherever, then set out two pieces of duct tape 1500 clicks apart. This way, you can verify no loss of air after your rides, and in this case, he could have done a modified calibration after fixing the flat. Yes, it requires getting back to the course, but again, must plan for problems.), and have some type of plan for transport back to that area in the event of a flat.

I know you can't always have a good backup plan. But, this does happen, and others have dealt with it.

I say go back on your own dime and complete the job. Not an attractive option, but it is better than hanging the race director out to dry. We contract to perform a service, and we need to deliver.
Measuring a strange foreign course in a short period of time is often an adventure. You are asked by your IAAF Area Administrator to do the job, and you contact the race people to make your travel plans, which are based on your available time and the race organization’s schedule. You often find that the race people expect miracles which you cannot provide. So you do your best.

It is not at all like measuring a course in your local area. You must work in a hurry and accept that you are not entirely in charge.

In the specific case here we have a measurer making the best of a bad situation. There was an emergency and little time, so he made a choice. In his shoes I could well have made the same choice.

I believe the IAAF Area Administrator must carry some of the responsibility. It is not an attractive prospect to be told that if your measurement is imperfect, you will be cut loose by IAAF and told to either reimburse the race or travel again at your own expense.

In this case we have the measurer using a surrogate rider because he had little choice or time to do otherwise. I see no reason why the surrogate ride, observed by the measurer, should not be accepted as good enough. Certainly it is better than either of the other two choices.

I believe that when the Area Administrator sends a measurer to do a job, he should stand behind him and support him. In this case it seems to me that dumping the responsibility onto the measurer is hard-hearted and not productive. The policy should be to accept the work of the person sent, and issue the IAAF certificate, not to second-guess.
Pete, I see things from your point of view, and definitely bow to your experience in matters like this. The details that emerged in your last post at least cause me to re-think my response and put myself more in the measurer's shoes. I certainly wouldn't want to be at risk for much more than my time and some mileage.

The obvious lesson to any of us that might be tapped for something like this is to make sure you have time and have arranged for contingencies- or turn down the assignment. I'll at least know what questions to ask should I ever get that call.
I believe I have read that any race recognized by IAAF must be measured by an IAAF "A" or "B" measurer. I see their point, but if a Grade "A" measurer participates in the majority of the measurement, has a flat, then observes the other rider for the remainder of the ride, I am with both of you - the measurement should be accepted.

If I have to travel, I always have them book a room for at least two nights, so if there is an issue on the first day of measurement, I have one more morning to measure. It takes time from my real job, but I sure don't want to travel, then not have time to complete the job on that trip.

While our job is not really difficult from a physical perspective (some courses are more difficult than most), we do have technical issues that take time and consideration. Always book more time than you think you need. I can usually come home early, with no penalty to the race for the cancelled second night.
Some supplementary information about the measurement:

Air travel to the venue was the first day. The second day was to be devoted to measurement. Travel resumed at 6 AM on the third day. This schedule was seen to be adequate for the job. A Sunday was scheduled for the measurement, as race officials said this was the best time.

However, some on-site complications arose:

Measurer was picked up late at his hotel. This was followed by a wait for the photographer to show up. Time was then spent searching for a store that sold paint thinner. The police did not show up and had to be fetched. An hour was spent convincing the police to ride in the race’s truck. They did not have a patrol unit. Riding was complicated by an athletic event which was expected to add much traffic.

The measurement extended into the dark hours, and it was raining.

When the flat occurred there was not time to locate a repair shop and get things fixed. Time was very tight because of the delays.
Even though we now have some additional information which appears to indicate problems outside of the responsibility and control of the measurer, it is hard to form a definite opinion without seeing the measurement report and possibly copies of the correspondence between the measurer and the race officials which would have taken place in setting up the measurement prior to the travel.

I generally work from the principle that events outside the control of the measurer which cause additional time and cost to be incurred must be funded by the race director. For example I would always warn the race director that if when I get home and recalibrate I find too much change I will need to make further measurements (at his expense). For long trips involving air travel, one obviously needs to build in enough time to carry out a redo. In this case the measurement appears to have been a Sunday only attempt on grounds of safety/traffic, so the possibility of needing a second trip if things go wrong must be built in at the outset of the negotiations to do the measurement.

A puncture is not the fault of the measurer unless he has wilfully ridden though a clearly visible pile of broken glass. If I see an area with glass, I wheel my bike through it and then a further wheel rotation with my hand on the front wheel to check remove any glass chips adhering. In this case if the puncture was not the result of such negligence by the measurer, the race director must bear the impact.

To check sensible planning we need to know more:
  • How long was the course?
  • Was it a straight forward single ride between the start and finish or were there several rides to be assembled to make the whole?
  • what time had the riding been supposed to start? When did it? When was the puncture noticed? When did measuring have to cease?

I am curious about the non-IAAF measurer:

  • What was his previous experience?
  • Had he done a previous layout measurement of the course for the IAAF measurer to verify?
  • Did the IAAF measurer ride behind the non-IAAF measurer and so was able to check the non-IAAF measurer rode the correct line?
  • Did the IAAF measurer carefully check the riding and the counter readings during the non-IAAF measurers post calibration?

I can imagine circumstances where the work of an experienced non-IAAF measurer under the very close observation of an IAAF grade A measurer might be accepted, but equally I can imagine many situations where there might not be enough evidence of the accuracy of the work of the non-IAAF measurer.

  • Was there not time for the IAAF measurer to comandeer the non_IAAF measurer's bike and repeat all the measurement work from scratch, which is what I would prefer to see be done if possible?
Different weight and riding position would lead to different calibrations, so no proper before and after calibration.

You could have both riders post calibrate if you trusted the pre-calibration of the non-IAAF rider, which could help give confidence in the calibration for the IAAF rider on the commandeered bike. However there is a serious problem in accepting the pre-puncture data of the IAAF rider since there is no post calibration for that bike and in any case they may be uncertainty over the exact place where the puncture occurred and how long it was before the puncture was noticed.

We need more information, which Pete is unable to give us for understandable reasons.
Mike, probably right. What I'm suggesting is that the "A" measurer mount the other bike, take a reading from an arbitrary point, ride the remainder of the course, then calibrate.

Another factor is the type of flat. Was it a sudden blowout, or a slow leak? Front or rear tire? If it was the rear, the rider could have taken the wheel from the other bike to complete his ride.
OK Pete. Then we have:

1. One day is agreed to be more than adequate with reserve for problems.
2. Puncture was not measurers fault.
3. Substantial delays, no police escort vehicle, etc, were faults with arrangements for which the organiser was responsible.
4. Improvisation to provide non-IAAF measurers data did not satisfy the certifier as acceptable.
5. Measurer had given no undertaking to overcome any sort of problem not due to his errors at his own cost.
6. I assume the travel and expense money agreed and apparently already paid over did not contain any contingency for covering things beyond the measurer's control.

Its clear cut - race director pays for further trips and measurement work, or his race is held without IAAF/AIMS recognition.
With regard to (4) above, This may still be up in the air. I do not believe the IAAF regional rep has yet solidified his position on this.

It would certainly be the simplest solution if he was to accept that the surrogate's riding was OK, and go ahead and certify the course.

It is not clear at this point whether the measurer would be willing to work further on this job.
A solution: Retroactively grant the backup rider the "IAAF" accreditation.

This should be possible owing to the apparnet haphazard manner in which this important souding designation has been granted in the past. Many of us would like to be an IAAF "A" or "B" measurer too, but there is no clear path to its attainment. It appears one must happen to be at the right place at the right time. If the rider in question is otherwise qualified, I beleive he was "in the right place at the right time".


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