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I've had a couple of questions from a race director asking about a half marathon that will be run on an indoor track. He indicated that the track is 317 meters, which means they'll go around 66.55 laps. I have no idea how he'll keep track of laps for individual runners.

I'm not sure that RRTC procedures even apply to this event, but I'd like to give him the right answers to his questions:

Can the course be certified?

Should the SCPF be included in the overall length of the course? My initial thought was that it should not, since the typical methods of measuring a road course won't come into play.

Ron Fitzpatrick
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It seems that our name, Road Running Technical Council, and that (from the USATF site) "The purpose of the USATF course certification program is to produce road race courses of accurately measured distances.", would indicate that a half-marathon run on a track should be governed by Track guidelines.

Since tracks are of a known distance for each lane, there is no need to certify using Road Running measurement techniques.

Just my thoughts.
Track certification has been around as long as road certification. Back in the beginning ultradistance people were setting “records” on tracks, and Ted Corbitt and Ken Young cooperated with RRTC in developing track measurement policies.

No SCPF applies to tracks.

All of our RRTC methods of measurement are less accurate than those generally used to lay out the track, but what other option do we have? If an original measurement document from the track constructor can be found it’s likely to be closer to the truth than is a calibrated bike.

There are certainly valid objections to our “certification” of tracks, but the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, as least as far as the record-keepers are concerned.

Tracks can be puzzling. I went to a seminar in Warsaw in 1989, and we were out on this Polish track doing measurements. People were scratching their heads, unable to make sense of their data. Finally someone mentioned that the track had a 500 meter length, not 400 m. Everything fell into place then.
It seems to me that RRTC's policy on this could be that if a calibrated wheel measurement is within 0.1% of 400 meters, then the track is certified as being 400 meters.
Even if the stated distance of the track is some odd number, like 317 meters, if a measurement of the track ends up being very close to 317 meters, that number was probably passed down from someone who knew the track was really 317 meters, i.e., the surveyor.
If the measurement comes out close to some other odd number that no one stated prior to the measurement, then I wouldn't make any assumptions, and would go with the measured number.
Thanks for the feedback. The race director indicated that he would like to have the course certified.
If I can't find documentation to support the track length, then it looks like I can use Bob Baumel's "Taping a Track" procedure to verify the length as 317 meters. Then I can add in the partial lap by taping. I haven't seen the track yet.

Pete, I'm sorry to see that you're retiring. I've enjoyed reading your posts and I hope you will stay involved with measuring and sharing your experience here on the forum.

I'm not planning to ride this course. As it turns out, the track at the facility is not a standard oval track. Bob Baumal's taping method cannot be applied. So,if the appropriate documentation can't be obtained to verify the length, then I think this will probably go un-certified.

It also looks like the longest straight section of the course is 105 yards, which is really too short for a cal course.

Justin found this link to the facility:


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