The USATF Course Certification - Expiration/Renewal Policy posted at http://www.usatf.org/events/co...fication/renewal.asp
clearly directs that courses issued a measurement certificate after 2000 will expire in ten years without possibility of "testimonial" renewal . The language of the policy states that:
"...all courses will simply expire after 10 years, without any possibility of renewal, and must then be re-measured in order to be recertified."
In my view that directive does more than functionally serve to "clear out the dead wood" as Pete points out. It requires "re-measurement", which by any common interpretation would appear to mean a measurement "de novo".
So, the question then devolves to What constitutes "re-measurement" upon the expiration of a valid certificate in cases where the "exact same course" -- or "landmark-to-landmark" measured reference segments of the same course -- will constitute the course that has applied for a new certificate?
Responding to that question, Pete, Jim Gerweck, and others would seem to support the position that a measurement or measurements conducted (1) prior to the submission for the new application, or (2) prior to the expiration of the existing certificate, or even (3) prior to application for the original certificate for that course could be used as a basis for the measurement on which the new certification will stand.
Let me offer a hypothetical of where this position could potentially lead.
The Hometown Marathon course was originally measured for certification in the spring of 1990, and issued certificate US90123AB the same year. The Measurer of Record (MoR), using the landmark reference method, measured the Hometown Marathon course in three segments -- Parts A, B, and C.
• In 1995, the finish line had to be relocated and, absent any physical changes to the course, the same MoR "adjusted" course US90123AB by re-measuring Part C, with no changes to parts A and B. In 2000 the adjusted course applied for and received a testimonial renewal for an additional 10 years.
• In 2005, the organizers decided to change the location of start line, requiring MoR to adjust US90123AB again by re-measuring only Part A.
• In 2009, US90123AB was adjusted yet again, only this time in the middle segment, Part B.
• The same calibration course on which the original measurement was based was used in the re-measurement of each segment.
Three months prior to the 12/31/2010 expiration of the 20-year renewal certificate, MoR applied for a new certificate for the Hometown Marathon. In the Course Measurement Data Sheet sent with the supporting documentation to his regional certifier, MoR submitted the 1995 measurement data for Part C, the 2005 for measurement data for Part A, and the 2009 measurement data for Part B. No additional measurements were provided.
My question is this: Under the expiration/certification policy adopted in 2001, how does MoR's form of "re-measurement" -- actually three independent measurements conducted over a period of 14 years -- not constitute simply another form of "testimonial renewal" for the Hometown Marathon course?
I think it does. And, although I wasn't involved in the discussions back in 2000, the wisdom at the heart of the current policy is simply this: Ten years from the issuance of an "original" certificate, in order to regain the status of being a USATF Certified Course, the course must be measured anew in its entirety -- even if it's the exact same course, or a composite thereof!
I understand that the ground beneath our feet may not have changed perceptibly in ten years. And I don't know about you, but in those ten years, I changed. A lot. The policy we have in place would preclude us from perpetuating yet for another ten (or more!) years, any mistakes -- calibration transcriptions errors, etc. -- that MoR might have made way back in 1995 ... or in 2005 ... or even in 2009.
I understand Pete's reasoning that the actual distance "from the east edge of the bricks on Broad Street at High street to the light pole at the northeast corner of Broad and Parkview" in Columbus, OH may not have changed in the past five, ten, or even fifty years. But that's not the point. Simply put, the rationale for assuring a new measurement every ten years is quality assurance. If we allow piling on adjustment after adjustment after adjustment with no temporal boundaries -- arbitrary as they may be -- we're tempting fate. Human beings make mistakes, and course measurers are not professional land surveyors. So when precision and consistency are at stake, given our rudimentary methods, every so often we should to do it over. Doing it over every ten years does not seem unreasonable to me. And it did not seem unreasonable back in 2000, to those who hammered it out.
Regarding course adjustments within the ten-year window, the participants in the policy discussion that took place at the annual meeting, in my opinion, sounded out many of the key (if not all) issues on this. For me, at least, it has been somewhat of a nagging problem with some measurers that I had raised several times before and was glad to see it formally broached and considered at the meeting and an articulated policy put forth. Doesn't mean we can't change it if it doesn't work, but for the time being, I'm satisfied with both the existing expiration/renewal policy and the newly minted course adjustment policy. If either breaks, we fix it!