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Here's a nice article featuring Jim Wilhelm. The complete article was posted in the Canton Rep

I pasted the text below. Enjoy. -- Justin

Postal worker helps certify Canton Marathon course
by Jim Thomas staff writer

CANTON - U.S. Postal Service employee Jim Wilhelm knows a little about covering ground and following a route.

Turns out he knows the terrain around Canton and Stark County. Well enough to help the 2012 Canton Marathon’s 26.2-mile course get certified.

"Terry Lewis came up to me and said, ‘Can you certify a course?’ " Wilhelm said of the honorary race director who will be scoring the race via RS Racing Systems.

"I started fishing around ... and said, ‘I can try.’ "

First, Canton Marathon officials enlisted help from a panel of marathoners interested in determining the course route. Bob Common of Canton was the lead drafter, and it took the group multiple meetings to narrow the path down.

Stark County Engineer Keith Bennett then made sure no road construction would be on-going on the route.

Then Wilhelm hopped on board the project, and his bike.

Wilhelm is an experienced International Association of Athletics Federations "B" Grade IAAF/AIMS approved measurer. The Louisville resident rode a bike with an IAAF measuring device (Jones Counter model JR) and had to meticulously map the course’s distance and elevation, among other criteria dictated through United States of America Track & Field to become approved for world records and to qualify for other marathons, such as Boston.

Another IAAF approved measurer, usually a Class A, then confirms the work and the distance. After the paperwork is prepared, it is sent to a regional USATF/Road Running Technical Council (RRTC) certifier.

The work requires precise measuring and mapping skills. Then there are the hours spent cycling the course. Wilhelm said it can take between 25 to 40 hours and as many as five rides to complete a course.

"I did 23 of them alone last year," Wilhelm said. "That was a little more than I bargained for."

Wilhelm said the Canton Marathon course is "a little less hilly" than most he’s done. The last course, in Wheeling, West Virginia, "was really hilly," Wilhelm said. "These hills around here are not hills like that."

But there is an up-and-down, ebb-and-flow to this course as it winds through several Stark County communities.

The starting line at Stadium Park Drive is at an elevation of about 1,050 feet. At the 5-mile marker it climbs to 1,185 feet. It never falls back down to 1,050 or rises to 1,185 again, but instead goes up and down about every two miles.

Wilhelm began running in the eighth grade, a year before his family moved to Malvern. He said he began his interest in course certification "as a way to give back to the sport of distance running, I love it so much."

Getting the Canton Marathon course done, and done right, was the top priority, said Wilhelm.

"I want to run on a certified course and all," he said. "If you run a personal best, you want to know it’s correct. If they’re not certified, you might as well guess they are short.

"I like knowing the course is the right distance."

Somewhere there is paperwork with Wilhelm’s signature on it, as proof.

Jim Wilhelm rode his bike multiple times over the Canton Marathon to certify the distance.

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