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I'm still trying to come to grips with the expiration policy and the new policy that has the course expire ten years from the certification of its oldest segment.

Our current policy doesn't specify how fast a measurer must submit application documentation to the certifer. So, in theory, a course could have been measured a number of years ago, but the certification is active for ten years after the application is submitted.

The new policy starts the clock on any part of the course when the measurement for that part of the course is submitted as part of an application for certification. The disconnect for me is that had the measurer measured that part of the course, documented it, and put it in a drawer, it would have a longer life than it currently does, because by submitting it for approval, he started the clock on it.

Pete at one point suggested that the original measurer be allowed to re-submit the original measurement documentation on a certified course that was facing expiration. I'm in agreement with either allowing this- or specifying the allowable time lag between measurement and certification. If the line of thought here is that all measurements should be "fresh", then let's start the clock at the measurement, not the certification.

While I understand the arguments against extending certification, the reality is that landmarks and road configurations can change over six months just like they can change over ten years. We depend on race organizers to recognize changes and run races over courses as they were measured/documented/certified. We shouldn't require courses to be re-measured if they haven't changed, and we shouldn't penalize race directors for going through our certification process.
I recently had a case where the race director wanted to add a 10km run to a half marathon I had measured 2 years earlier. The new route was to follow exactly the same router as the half, except turn around at the 5km mark. I had good data from my measurement and a good record of the location of the 5km split. After verifying that there had been no changes to the route in terms of road construction or the like and that my physical reference for the 5km mark was still there I submitted the original data with a new map showing the 5km route.

It might make sense to date the certificate from the date of measurement rather than the date of certification, but on the other hand if the measurer verifies, and he should, that nothing has changed from the original measurement there isn't any real difference if he measured it yesterday or 2 years ago.
There are two points here.

One is about making an adjustment to a course, which in the past allowed a race to make adjustment and receive a new ten year life. This will no longer be allowed. The race which had the adjustment will have a Certificate Number with the original year it was Certified. I don't know all the history related to the the ten year idea, but I feel it's a good one for many reasons.

The other point is that of measurement data. If one holds off on submitting his data for a year, then we should in my view give the Certificate for the date it was submitted.

I don’t remember how this thread got started, but this latest pronouncement is a mistake, and should be rectified ASAP. Complicated changes should only be made when a demonstrable problem exists, and I don’t believe one does. The only one so far proposed is that people may abuse the system. If this is indeed a problem, where is evidence that it is a harmful one?

The decision to shorten the 10 year life of a course based on the oldest measurement of any segment of the course not only complicates what was simple, but it ignores a critical factor. All measurements are based on the use of a calibration course. Logic would require us to certify on the age of the oldest calibration course used. Are we ready for that?

We have three decades of reasonably successful operation without worrying about when the data was created. What now requires a change? I can’t see the problem. Use of older segments is fairly rare.

I urge Gene to put a stop to fiddling with date of oldest measurement and get back to keeping it simple. Certify on the basis of received data, just as though it was brand-new.

I am in the middle of a 5k measurement. I measured once in December, and snow and mind-changing by the race director will result in subsequent measurements being done this year. I believe the certification should be based on the date the work is finished, not when it began. The Kirkham Road calibration course, in front of my house, was last measured and certified in 2005. Should all my measurements this year be given a 2015 expiration date? That would be ridiculous.

Let’s back off to the status quo until someone can point out an actual problem.
Last edited by peteriegel
I've removed the offensive "shouting," and the arguments remain.

I will say that I disagree with the idea that using capital letters or exclamation points is akin to "shouting." I see it as emphasis, much as different fonts are used in newspapers and magazines.

Now that I think about it again, I will reinstall my original caps and exclamation point. I see no earthly reason why anyone should be offended, and was wrong to bow to political correctness.
Last edited by peteriegel
The ten year expiration policy, as best I can recall, was instituted in an effort to clear deadwood from the course list, as few race courses are used without change beyond that time. It did not address the quality of the measurements that were originally used to measure the course.

The new policy, on the other hand, questions the validity of past measurements, making an older measurement of less value than a newer one. As a result, we now have a flexible expiration date and a course life – not ten years but – up to ten years.

The minutes of the 2010 meeting do not discuss the reasons why the new policy was instituted. What problem existed that required the change? Was the effect of the change considered?

I believe it’s clear that a course with a ten year life has greater value that does one with a shorter life.

The change in policy has its major effect on marathon courses, as they are most likely to contain segments that are difficult, dangerous, or expensive to measure. Here are a few I can recall:

Verrazano–Narrows Bridge in New York City Marathon. I measured the course in 1985 as part of a team ride. We had half a dozen police cars clearing the way. The bridge was completely shut down for the measurement. I do not recall whether we laid out any reference points at either side of the bridge. Measuring this bridge is a very expensive proposition. Subsequent measurements may employ reference points – I do not know.

Golden Gate Bridge – I have no experience with this, but believe that at least one race uses the bridge. I would expect a measurer would have to have a police escort or risk death or arrest.

Fenced Military Reservations – I’ve seen one course that traversed a portion of a military reservation, and two locked gates had to be gotten through. Complicated pre-arrangement was needed to gain access.

In the above examples, the courses may have had changes over the years, but not necessarily in the hard-to-measure segments. This being the case, why is it necessary to insist that they be remeasured each time the course undergoes a change? Why should a measurer’s work that’s a year old be assumed to be of lesser quality than work he did yesterday?

Do I have a dog in this hunt? Yes. I measure the Columbus Marathon each year. Over the years I have established a set of reference points which I can use to establish an accurate partial course, requiring only measurement of the sections that have changed. I know others have used reference points to advantage also.

With the new policy I seem to have three options:

1) Use my past reference points but give the race director a certificate that has less than ten years’ life.
2) Measure the entire course again, twice, and give the race director what he wants – a ten-year course. This requires me to ride an additional 20 miles or so, and uses a day or two of time, just to measure again what I’ve measured before.
3) Lie. Nobody would catch me.

I consider all of the above to be unattractive options. I think the decision should be re-examined. Use of enroute reference points is a valuable tool, and it is a shame to throw the technique away without a very good reason. What is this good reason? The minutes do not tell us.
Last edited by peteriegel
Agree with Pete, even the part about yelling. I see the advantages of the 10-year course life as clearing the deadwood and instituting a simple unambiguous course lifetime rule. However, the discussion of segment and calibration course lifetime is nit-picking that serves no practical purpose, save regulating.

The entire measurement/certification process assumes a degree of professionalism (integrity). When we try to regulate out cheating, we become lawyers more interested in law (regulations) than in our product and its quality.

If a certifier gets a package that includes a segment measured more than 10-years ago, or earlier than the measurement date for the balance, a simple phone call or email can easily provide assurance that the reference points and the route of the segment are unchanged.

I've found that the best way for me to keep track of course segments is to complete a Measurement Data Sheet for each. When a package containing segments is submitted it then provides the date and the measurer for that segment. If a separate calibration course was used for that segment, the map and certification number for it is also included. I consider that I'm honest enough to not submit a segment that I haven't checked for changes.
Pete's arguments make a lot of sense. I realize that I've been contemplating doing a couple of complete but really unnecessary measurements, just in order to give a 2011 certificate. And as in Pete's examples, doing the complete measurement involves dangerous portions for which I have to negotiate police coverage, etc-- when in fact I have kept good records of reference points. I don't think I should spend my time that way, especially when there are lots of events clamoring for measurements. Also, as my wife keeps reminding me, insurance for measurers hasn't kicked in yet!

I've always liked our system because it's simple. I'm afraid we might have just fixed something that ain't broke and in doing so we have "unsimpled" it. Could we hit the pause button maybe?
Pete and all,

You explained why the ten years was put in place. I argue why have any expiration at all if I follow Pete's suggestion.

The certificate says 10 years. Should it say to infinity?

The discussion at the convention was about adjustments made to a course and how many times should we allow an adjustment. We concluded that these could be made, but any adjustment made should not extend the life of course another 10 years. Hence, we came up with a way to number the New certificate using the original year the course was Certified.
Infinite life? The Upper Arlington 5 Mile Run has been run since the early 1980’s and was originally certified as OH84011PR. It has changed not a bit since then. When the ten-year policy was adopted I remeasured it in 2006. My personal calibration course has also been remeasured. Both were wastes of time, as I had measured them before, and I knew that they had not changed.

There is no reason why a lot of alterations cannot be made to a course, provided good measurement procedures are followed. By this I mean, when the measured pieces of the course are assembled, each segment has proper calibration and defined end points, and that the application is in good order, so that the certifier can see that everything has been done correctly. Date of first measurement is irrelevant.

The agenda Gene sent to some people by email in early September 2010 had the following as an item to be discussed:

"How many times should we allow an adjustment be made to a Certified Course and the Expiration Date should not be given a new 10 year life!"

My response to this was “It is 5090.63 meters from the east edge of the bricks on Broad Street at High street to the lightpole at the northeast corner of Broad and Parkview. This was measured in 2008. It’s one of the building blocks of the Columbus Marathon. It will remain 5090.63 meters until roadwork changes the pavement or the lightpole. Annual adjustments of the course are common. When I have to change the course, I remeasure only the changed portions of the course to come up with the final course, and then do a whole-course ride to set out the new splits. Thus the next time the course changes the segment in question will show as having been measured once in 2008 and once in the year the course next changes. I believe this methodology is solid. When I’m done I issue a certificate to expire ten years from present date.

I am reluctant to issue a certificate to anyone who wants to adjust a course measured by another person.

I believe this subject does not solve an existing problem, and wonder why we should set it in stone. Are we paranoid that people will try to pervert our system?”

Somebody obviously thought this was enough of a problem that it was placed on the agenda, but exactly what was the problem was not stated. Instead, in the busy venue of our RRTC meeting, the new policy was introduced and decided upon.

This is a good example of what happens when things get done in a hurry.

There are adjustments applied for that clearly are done badly, and these can be handled locally by the state certifier.

Date of measurement is irrelevant. The measurer knows whether what he measured still exists. If it does, and he wishes to get the expiration lifted, I see no reason why a brand-new certificate should not be granted upon proper application. Old data but new application.

Them I would not have to measure my calibration course for a third time, and the UACA 5 Mile Run for the third time.

The ten-year expiration has not happened without its bumps. Things don’t always get done right the first time.

We can talk this to death, but it’s clear to me that date of measurement is irrelevant as long as the measured object exists as it did when measured. It’s time to back off on the fiddling with dates and return to the status quo. We do not need a new policy. The old one is working fine.
Last edited by peteriegel
I think the ten year policy is OK. It clears the deadwood.

I recommend ignoring dates of measurement, and consider all measurements equal regardless of date, as long as submitted by the original measurer.

Anyone wanting to get an expired course renewed should get the original measurer to apply for a course certification, with up-to-date map and correctly filled out application. New course certification would follow if paperwork is OK.

Since date of measurement is no longer a factor, this would allow long-time race courses, and many cal courses, to stay current. The time is limited only by the longevity of the original measurer.
When I was the Area Administrator for North America (now Bernie Conway) the expiration subject came up. I fought for a ten year expiration and lost.

So far this disparity has not been a problem.

Note that IAAF has little interest in road races that are not big-time IAAF championship events, Olympic marathons, and AIMS races. The ordinary mom-and-pop races that are the backbone of racing are outside IAAF's area of interest.

The new policy about adjustments is going to stay for this year. I understand all the points made, but most at the convention felt it was a good thing. We did argue about allowing only the original measurer to make the adjustment, however aren't there good measurers that could make an adjustment. This policy is simple and it stops a race from abusing the 10 year expiration of a course.

The 10 year expiration is a good thing in most cases for several reasons.

Pete has said that I should act like a CZAR. I really don't like that, but in this case I will be the CZAR.
The Annual Meeting is not the only place where RRTC decisions can be made. A serious mistake has been made here, and it should be rectified before the new measuring season begins.

My Czar advice also counseled the application of consensus. I have looked over the Bulletin Board postings and here is what I found.

Before the actual policy change was announced:
Jim Gilmer asked whether a surveyor-measured calibration course could be renewed. Gene Newman was opposed to any exceptions.
Pete Riegel did not think any action needed to be taken.

After the actual new policy was announced:
Keith Stone expressed skepticism, saying “measurements spoil?”
Pete Riegel was opposed to change, because it added work and expense.
Jay Wight was opposed.
Guido Bros was (were?) opposed.
Bob Thurston was opposed.
Paul Adams (Canadian) was opposed.

I see six experienced measurers who feel that the policy is unwise.
On the other side, I see only you who thinks it is a good idea. I see your statement “most at the convention felt it was a good thing.” I hope some of those who agreed with you will cite their reasons for agreement.

Aside from Bob Thurston, who attended the meeting, no other attendee has expressed a recorded opinion. In the limited time available at the meeting I suspect that many simply went along with what you wanted in order to get through the agenda.

Your statement “it stops a race from abusing the 10 year expiration of a course.” is not clear to me. Can you explain more fully what form this “abuse” takes, and what actual harm results? It seems to be the sole reason you cite for creating the policy.

Until we hear from others who support the policy, it seems that you stand alone in supporting it. You have taken a small potential problem, and made a change that adds work and expense to course measurement and reduces the value of a certificate by shortening its life. The cure is worse than the disease.

History has shown that a wise Czar listens to his subjects. Decisions based only on your personal opinion, unsupported by others and opposed by several, need a hard look. Do not put off action. Ask around, and I think you’ll find that you stand alone. This subject cries out for consensus. Thus far we have none. All expressed opinions, except yours, oppose the policy.

Leave the policy on the table if you wish, for further discussion, but withdraw it for now. You’re all alone on this.
First Pete, this was not my idea alone as others expressed concern about some races abuses their remeasuring. I for one have seen it done for a few races in NJ.

The topic was discussed at length and I don't recall anyone at the meeting objecting to the policy about making adjustments to a course and how to number the Certificate(this includes Bob Thurston). Take a look at the attendee's and I could say they all agree with what has been done.

The life of a course is 10 years starting in 2011. Why did you guys decide this 20 years ago? Do you and others want to extend courses beyond 10 years if the original measures verifies all is the same?

I will again ask the council their feeling via email. I will suggest they comment here also.

Best, Gene
Last edited by genenewman
The USATF Course Certification - Expiration/Renewal Policy posted at 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!
Let's ask the question:

How many "testimonial renewals" does RRTC process in a year?

If everybody's experience is the same as mine, it's probably about 5% of the number of courses we certify in a year.

That means, for even the busiest of us, you can count the number of renewals on both hands.

If we limit the applicants for a renewal to the original measurer, and require them to produce original measurement data, my guess is that those numbers drop further.

I don't think that's much of a quality assurance issue.
As some or most of you know, in 2010 and 2011 Gene has given me the list of expired courses for the year (although this year he missed a few of Pete's). I then email each measurer to give them the list of their expired courses for that year. This is the response I have gotten from the measurers about expired courses:

1. Most do not reply to my email
2. Of those that do, it is usually appreciated and generally with the response that the courses are no longer in use. This confirms the value of cleaning out the dead wood.
3. Other comments are generally that they will contact the race directors about having the courses recertified.

To date no measurers have come back to me saying that the courses are unchanged and do not need to be remeasured.

My point is that in two years I have not received any complaints from the measurers I contacted with the exception of Pete regarding remeasurement. So based on the responses from about 1600 expired courses in 2 years, for the minority of the times that a course is still active, it is not seen as a burden by the original measurer to recertify the course.

On another vein, the decision made at the National meeting was to have a new map for certification. The requirements have to be reasonable for the entire area governed by the RRTC. Some areas may have little change in 10 years while others, like NJ where I live, have changed significantly in 10 years. We have also made changes to our map requirements to include Validation period, measurer name, and contact information. Recertification is a good time to update the maps to meet those changes. If a certifier physically checks a course after 10 years and it is completely unchanged including the mark descriptions, etc. then how difficult is it to copy the old map, add the new validation period, name, and email and resubmit the certificate. If there are changes then update the measurement and the map. We are supposed to be all about accuracy now not what it was 10 years ago.

If there is an adjustment to the course then the decision to hold to the original 10 year period is administratively simple and ensures that courses aren't "rebirthed" every year without at some point being completely remeasured for accuracy.

To say that a course has not changed in 10 years is extremely rare in my part of the country and the only way a certifier or measurer could really know that is to actually ride the course to be sure. By the way, having a race director say the course is unchanged is completely meaningless in my opinion. Once a certifier visits a course and rides it once how difficult is it to finish the job with a recertification. For 5Ks which I mostly do it is minimal effort to complete the certification process. For marathons, it could be considerably more work if it is not a multi- loop course. On the other hand, in 42.195 Km the chance of a change somewhere along the course after 10 years is more probable and all the more reason for the 10 year expiration. The marathoners I know, and a know a lot of them, are adament that the course is accurate. They don't want to run 42.195 Km to find out the course is short (or long) because changes have been pieced together over and over again.

Finally, I agree with Gene if a map isn't done in a timely manner after the measurement ride, I would want to know why. I wouldn't necessarily put a hard time limit but if a course measurement comes to me more than a month after the ride date(s), my first question to the measurer is "Why the delay?"

Just my input based on my experiences on some very important matters regarding recertification.

Well. At least this is getting everyone talking! I can confirm what Gene says, that no strong objections were raised at the meeting about this, including by me-- I just asked why we're doing it. In short it's to make the 10-year expiration meaningful. Since I wasn't involved in the original decision to end the process of renewals, I felt it wasn't my place to revisit that. I really did not have a strong objection until I read Pete's comments.

There was some sentiment for finding a way to change the expiration dates without putting "old" numbers on newly certified courses. But we learned that there is no easy way for that to happen.

I would encourage us to use this year to see how the policy does affect things-- we can track how many new certificates are issued with old year numbers, and whether that causes confusion (I'm thinking it might), and also whether we feel like we've done a lot of totally unnecessary measuring.

Another issue that came up at the meeting still bothers me-- namely the question of validations. It seems that at present not a whole lot of validations are taking place (maybe I'm mistaken about this so please correct me). I've always felt that validations are the quality control process that keeps us sharp and accurate, so if they are on the decline then it may be that the quality of our measurements is slipping. I hope folks will be able to figure out a way to make sure that the validation program gets the kind of support it needs.
I guess I’m OK with a one-year trial, with the caveat that the certifier can waive the oldest segment rule based on individual course discussions with the measurer.

This is somewhat selfish since I’m thinking of the marathons I’ve measured. In every case the race director has made adjustments on a yearly basis. I’ve measured these marathons in segments. The most recent has 11 segments. The last “adjustment” used only 4 of the original segments. This “new” course should have a “new” certificate and a “new” 10-year life, even though 4 of the segments are older than the other 7. The certifier can easily determine whether I’m gaming the system by making small changes to a segment simply to obtain a new 10-year certificate.
Wow! Miss a few days on the Board, and you miss a lot!

I was at the Annual Mtg, and I agreed with the policy to allow adjustments to be made to a course, but to keep the original 10-year expiration date. I felt a complete re-measure on the 10-year cycle is warranted when adjustments have been made to the course. (This is entirely different than an unchanged course.)

Jim Gilmer put it very well in his last 3 paragraphs: verification that no mistakes had been made in the adjustments is a good idea. The more adjustments, the more opportunity for mistakes. Are mistakes likely? No, as we all take undue (okay, anal) care in our work. But, we are human, and we may fat-finger or transpose a calculation. Once. But, that's all it takes.

I imagine Half-marathon and longer courses are the only ones that are at issue here. It is normally easy enough to do a complete re-measure of a 5k or 10k. But, Half and Marathon courses take much more work. They also are likely to be above the level of "mom-and-pop" races, which elevates the need for accuracy.

I support the decision to require any changed/adjusted course to be re-measured at the end of its original 10-year life. Thus, any new certificate issued for a modified course should retain the original expiration.

While I can understand the view that since measured segments have been used to create the entire course, therefore the course is accurate, I can't sign-off on the accuracy of the whole. If there was an error in any one of the segments, it may go unnoticed, since it may not get re-measured if we don't require a 10-year cycle for the entire length.

My bottom-line is that, if we have modified a course, especially multiple times and in multiple areas, the entire course must be remeasured before a new 10-year life can be assigned.
My ox is gored.

I can't see why I should have to ride an extra 20 miles in order to get a 2011 expiration.

I can't understand why a measurement I did years ago should not be accepted as accurate. It was acceptable when I did it, and the road hasn't changed.

If I submit an acceptable application, it seems to me that the date should be irrelevant.

The course does get one new overall measurement in laying out the splits.

It's nice to be careful, but adding a day or two of work just to measure what's already been measured is not user-friendly to me as a measurer.

Duane, you measure several marathon courses. How do you intend to handle this? You, and all others who use reference points, are now going to have to do extra riding and spend extra time, unless you are satisfied with less than a ten year course life.

Seems to me there's no longer any point in measuring the smart way.
Last edited by peteriegel
According to the minutes of the RRTC meeting, it took 2 ½ hours to cover the officer reports and 13 agenda items. No mention of the time spent in discussing the new proposal was noted in the minutes.

This thing happened too fast, with inadequate discussion of the effect on the course measurers who will have to do the extra work. The discussion seems to have begun and ended in the span of a single meeting.

It’s been said “Perfect is the enemy of Good Enough.” This crammed-through-in-a-hurry policy is an excellent example.

This discussion should continue until a good reason for the new edict is found. Caution alone is inadequate. We already require two measurements. Is that not enough caution? Evidently not. Maybe we should require three or four.

The officer reports were done online, hence there was no need to repeat any of them. We spent lots of time on this topic at our meeting, probably not enough for you.

I sent out the new policy and had only one complaint. Does this say something-maybe. I'm not going to state how many favor it, but you don't. That's Ok as we all have our own opinions. As for your attitude about doing three or measurement is unfair. Positive is always a good way to handle things.

I'm sure you will hear from Bob Baumel and Mike soon as they express the same views as Duane.

Yes a Marathon is going to be work, but in these longer courses it's more likely a change could have taken place. As I said before, the new policy could be revamp to only do one measurement. Any thoughts on that idea.
Pete mentions riding the course to set out the splits. It prompts the question, could folks accept a full ten-year renewal on one of these (long, difficult or dangerous to measure, etc) courses as long as there is at least one full new measurement of the whole thing? That would mean that, in fact, the measurer's assumptions about the old segments has been confirmed.

In fact, what if you go to measure any expiring course that hasn't changed, and you measure it once and find that in fact, it hasn't essentially changed, do you have to measure it still another time? Assuming your measurement comes within 0.08% of your original, 10-year old measurement?

I was unclear in your earlier post when you referenced a ride "to lay out splits". It sounds, from a later post, that after you make your adjustment this year, you will ride the entire length, to lay out the splits. Thus, you are measuring the entire length of the course every time you make an adjustment. Is that correct?

If so, you have more of an argument for issuing a new cert with a new 10-year life. If you don't do a complete, end-to-end ride, I don't think a new cert can be expected.

Do you ride the entire course, end-to-end, after every adjustment?

As for the Marathons and Half-marathons I measure, there has only been one instance where I felt an intermediate adjustment could be used. The rest are complete re-dos, as they move the Start and Finish, and change the layout. So, I cannot say that I make adjustments to long courses, so far. All of mine have been full-price (worth the work!) measurements.

Speaking of full-price, and the worth of a measurer's time, if I choose to not do a full measurement because I don't have time, or am too tired, or whatnot, I can always direct the race director to another measurer and let them have the work. Just because it may not be convenient for me to do the work does not mean the job shouldn't be done properly. Dave Poppers won't do longer than a 10k any more, but he may do some 5k courses. It's his choice.
Bob, you posted your comment while I was responding to Pete's post.

But, you bring up a separate issue - a re-measure of an expiring course, and accepting one ride, if that ride is withing .08% of the original measured length.

Gene, should this discussion be moved to its own topic? Very appropriate discussion, but not directly related to course modifications .

For what it's worth, I would entertain a discussion of single-ride measurements of unchanged courses, to allow for a new 10-year cert. At this moment, I would favor such treatment for Half-marathon or longer courses, where traffic is a safety factor.
I have some of my race directors "trained" to make changes in a way so I don't have to remeasure the whole thing. (Well, it works sometimes.) But I'm trying to think of some way to "get at" the difficult parts to measure. The only easy day to measure some of those parts is on the actual race day, but then that happens one year and the race might be up for a change the next year. I'm still puzzling this out.
Caution is a good thing. When the measurement procedure was set up, we exercised caution by requiring two measurements with the lesser length used, and we required the addition of the 1.001 SCPF.

No consideration was given at the time to the time elapsed between measurement and application for certification.

Over the years validations have shown a “pass” rate of about 90 percent for the less experienced, and 98 to 99 percent for highly experienced folks. There is not much room left for improvement. We are already close to the point of diminishing returns. In other words, we could double the work required and gain only a little improvement in the “pass” rate.

The proposal’s main rationale, as best I can tell, is a belief that old measurements are less credible than new ones, and that extra caution must be exercised.

Some worry that old measurements may be invalid, because the course may have changed. It’s true, it may have changed, but the guy who measured it originally says it has not. Who would know better?

I have no problem with the ten year expiration. Too many questionable applications for renewal were being received. However, I believe if the original measurer has observed the course and seen no changes, he should be able to use that original data to obtain a new certificate with a new submission of the old data. This would not be a renewal, as a new, up to date, map would be needed to cover any changes in split descriptions. In practice I don’t think this will happen often, and I don’t see it as a problem. I suspect the main beneficiaries will be calibration courses.

My position is that the new policy is unnecessary and should be withdrawn. I see it as bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo with no clearly defined benefit.

The safeguards we originally put in place provide enough caution.
First, much discussion was made on this topic at the convention and now here on the BB. In my view and others there is sound reasoning for the new policy.
Pete states: “No consideration was given at the time to the time elapsed between measurement and application for certification.” This is another topic that could be discussed at a later time.

The new policy could be as follows:
Courses which have been adjusted without complete remeasurement of one ride will not be given a new 10-year life. This measurement is to be within .08% of the original course length to be eligible for a new 10-year certification number."
Note: it could also apply to an expired course that hasn’t had any adjustments and was unchanged.

Adjustments should preferably be made by the person who originally measured the course. However, if someone else is going to make the adjustment, they must be approved by the Regional Certifier. There would be no limits on the number of times a course could be adjusted, but with each adjustment, a new Certificate would be issued, using a new number that still includes the original year of certification and original expiration date.
As an example, suppose the original number was CA07001RS and an adjustment is made in 2008. The new certificate would still be given a 2007 number, but with a sequence number which is one more than the last number assigned in 2007. Suppose the last number issued in 2007 was CA07068RS; then the number assigned to the adjusted course would be CA07069RS. This would mean that the adjusted course has a life of 9 years. If there is another adjustment in 2010, then the new number issued would be CA07070RS. This course then would have a life of 7 years from 2010, as the expiration date would remain Dec 31, 2017.
Here’s another thing to confuse the issue.

Let’s say I measure and certify a course and it has a 2010 number.

Race director wants a change and I use a previous measurement of a segment. The new course winds up with, say, a 2007 course number. Race director wants to keep the 2010 course alive, so the new course and the old one are now on the list.

How is a person who searches the list for the current course supposed to figure out which one is the newest?

What do these complications really buy us?

Your comment -->Let’s say I measure and certify a course and it has a 2010 number.
Race director wants a change and I use a previous measurement of a segment. The new course winds up with, say, a 2007 course number.

Pete, this above stuff doesn't make sense. The course you are making an adjustment to is the 2010 course, hence it has a 2010 number. You know that no course is taken off the list unless requested by the race or the old course is unusable. Yes two course will show, but that's the case now for many courses.

You don't like the policy and I respect you for that, but I feel that's not the view of most. The policy is in place and I'm trying to make it better. I understand your views, but I need to find balance here.
Pete has posted my email sent to him and other parties in this discussion. It's basically my comments about enough is enough I feel we have covered many different parameters of the policy and it's time to move on.

At this point in time some of us are working on tweaking the policy.

Thanks for all your input on this matter.

Last edited by genenewman

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