Okay, I'm here to join this discussion. I sense some confusion on a couple of levels. For one thing, I'm pretty sure that when Jim started this thread, he was referring to the Certificate
that certifiers fill out when issuing a certification. However, at least one other person in the discussion seems to be referring to the paperwork that measurers fill out when measuring a course. Now, assuming we're talking about the Certificate, different certifiers may be using different versions. Some use the "standard" version that I distribute, which is a PDF file with form fields that can be filled in using Adobe Reader and saved after filling in the fields. Some certifiers use a PDF form that has been modified somewhat (compared with my "standard" version), since anyone who has a full version of Adobe Acrobat, or various other third-party PDF editing programs, can make changes. And some use certificate forms in other software entirely, such as Microsoft Word.
Since many versions of the certificate abound, I'll focus the discussion by displaying an image of the "standard" certificate that I distribute:
Note: This is a low-resolution image of a blank certificate. I don't want to provide a high-resolution editable PDF through this board, but any certifier who wants one should send me an email.
Jim wrote that on his certificate, the Elevation field has an italicized meters.
The image above shows that in my standard certificate, the text "meters above sea level" appears next to the word Elevation, but it isn't italicized. It should also be noted that in my standard editable PDF certificate, the (non-italicized) word "meters" appears by default, but it's an editable field, so if the certifier wants to, they can change it to feet (or other similarly old units, such as cubits, rods, fathoms, etc.).
Also in my standard certificate, the four individual elevation fields (Start, Finish, etc.) do not include unit designators. While I would encourage all certifiers to always include a unit symbol (i.e., "m") for each of the individual elevation values, it wouldn't make sense to include these in the background text of the standard form, given the possibility that some certifiers may enter elevations in feet instead of meters.
As for the "Straight line distance between start & finish" field, this also doesn't include a unit designator, because it may be entered in a variety of units. Assuming that only metric units are used, it may still sometimes be entered in kilometers instead of meters.
As for which numbers are submitted to the USATF database, the "Straight line distance" isn't included in that database, as only the "Separation" value (in %) is entered in the database. Similarly, the individual elevation figures (Start, Finish, etc.) aren't in the database, as only the "Drop" (in m/km) gets entered in the database. Thus, the Straight line distance and the individual Elevation figures are written on certificates but Gene doesn't enter them in the database.
The question of which splits are laid out in a race course is, of course, totally separate from these issues about writing numbers on the certificates. Nevertheless, for those who say they've never seen a US road race that offers km splits, you ought to come to Oklahoma, where you'd find that many, probably most, metric races are marked entirely with km splits. This includes the Tulsa Run 15 km, the biggest race in the state.
A couple of other issues on certificate forms: A few days ago, I received an inquiry from a certifier who wanted greater flexibility in choosing the font and size of entered text. To accommodate that request, I designed a variant of the PDF certificate that doesn't use editable form fields but, instead, can be completed using the "Typewriter tool" in Adobe Reader. Filling out this version may require greater care in lining up the fields, but lets you enter text in any font and size you like. It also lets you type comments anywhere on the certificate, not just in designated form fields, which may sometimes be useful. Certifiers who would like a copy of this PDF certificate should send me an email. You can find my email address in a link near the top of the page at http://www.rrtc.net
Finally, given the movement to change the term "Validation" to "Verification," we'll need to change the fixed text near the bottom of the certificate sometime soon. This will require distributing new certificate forms to all certifiers. Before doing this, we can decide if there are other changes we ought to make in the certificates. For example, if certifiers will be required to always enter elevations in meters, we can include "m" unit symbols to the right of each of the 4 fields for entering elevation values.