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USATF Liability Insurance Policy as it applies to a measurer.
Basically, the race must be sanctioned in order for any of us to be protected when measuring a course. Here is a general explanation of the policy!
Liability Insurance covers claims if the official/measurer caused property damage or injured a person while performing his/her duties for a sanctioned event. The official/measurer is covered for sanctioned events (note, only if the event is already sanctioned – so courses that are measured before the event is sanctioned result in an uninsured measurer). Coverage does not depend on USATF membership or whether or not the person is a USATF certified official. Liability insurance does not cover any claims for damages if the measurer makes a mistake (that is professional liability).

Sport Accident Insurance covers accidents/injuries to oneself while measuring the course (deductibles and co-pays apply). Falling off a bike would count. The event must be sanctioned. The official/measurer must be a member of USATF or a USATF certified official. Note: The Sports Accident policy with USATF is only excess. It doesn't do what a comprehensive health insurance policy would cover. A person would be covered by the person's own disability, health insurance and personal liability policy (homeowner/umbrella) first, then this policy would be secondary.

For more information about sport accident Insurance issue, visit
USATF’s general liability insurance does not include coverage for professional liability (so claims for damages if the measurer makes a measurement mistake are not covered). If the measurer has a concern about being held responsible for his/her course accuracy, then he/she should consider including a waiver or hold harmless agreement in his/her contract with the event.

Gene Newman
USATF/ RRTC Chairman
Original Post

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I think the insurance policy should be changed so that measurement of an event before it is sanctioned should be covered.
  • Most measurement is done prior to the first running of an event.
  • Some times the measurement is of alternative routs to find out what route will fit the event. This must be done prior to the first event. Obviously the alternative routs explored will never be part of the sanctioned event.
  • The person doing the measurement does not control either the application for getting an event sanctioned nor does he control if USATF will or will not issue a sanction. It is un-realistic for a measurer to require an event to be sanctioned before he will measuring the course because this is both something he does not control, and it's very much an issue of putting the cart before the horse.
  • Many local events are staged on courses that the RD has paid to be measured, and that are covered under the clubs RRCA insurance umbrella, or under the organizing events policy, but are not USATF sanctioned events.

Maybe the right system is for RD's to have to pay $10 for each measurement to go into a specific insurance policy to cover measures.

For example I may mesure a race for the local Womens League.
A) I did the measurement before the first running of the event.
B) They had their own event insurance policy.

It is dangerous out there, and we are not acting like normal bike traffic. We start and stop in funny places, are squinting at our front wheel, may go against traffic and have a terrible habit of cutting all the corners and riding the shortest path, not sticking to edge of the curb.

It is in the USATF intrest to develop more young mesurers. To this end there should be a policy covering people engauged in course mesurement and it should not matter if the event is sanctioned, or if the event ever gets off the ground.

If the man is on the bike and in danger then we should have some form of coverage. Who pays for it is another matter. It could be the measurer. It could be a standard $10 tacked on to the cost of any measurement fee that is automatically sent in to USATF.

Having a fee per certification or a fee per mile of certification would at least distribute the cost correctly and it we can justify the expense to the RD as a standard cost.

Change would be nice, but that's up to the USATF as it's their policy. The fee idea in my view will not work. One reason is the cost of the insurance is something we at RRTC can't handle. A second reason is the time involved for getting all this done needs more volunteeers than we have. If you want some more information on my efforts with USATF then please email me at:

My suggestion to you is for you to have an agreement with the RD that would offer you some type of relief if an accident occured while measuring. Also, you could encourage the RD to get that sanction before you perform the work.
Whenever I read insurance stuff, my reading comprehension skills take a hit.

Do I have this right? If a measurer is a USATF member and the race isn't currently sanctioned by USATF, we have no coverage? In other words, for USATF coverage to work, the event AND measurer have to be USATF affiliated?

I don't know exact figures, but I'd guess 3 in 4 race courses we measure are for non-USATF-sanctioned events. Depending on the answer to my question above, measurers becoming USATF members provides coverage in only 1 of 4 cases. If I were to join USATF, it wouldn't be for the insurance coverage...if I'm reading things right.

I could do as Pete did and get outside insurance to cover measuring stuff. Maybe that's what should be encouraged. I suppose the USATF policy covers who & what it should but I think we're dealing w/a large % of events that aren't USATF sanctioned.
Weighing in a little late on one topic -
A course doesn't need to be certified to obtain a sanction, and may aren't, particularly if they are the odd distance, it's 'uncertifiable', or there's no interest.

On sanctions and insurance -
You can't by insurance after any incident or accident. That's why a sanction has to be approved before measurement work.

On measuring USATF sanctioned courses, and being a member of USATF for insurance -
How/why would a member be covered for an activity for simply being a member? The two parts - sanction and member - don't seem to be at odds. USATF isn't out to insure the world.

And rhetorically, why is there so much continued anti-USATF membership sentiment? It's the national governing body, and the RRTC is a council of the federation. It's paying dues in a professional organization. If the concern is the cost - a mere $30 (okay, $29.95) - then write it off as an expense against income from measuring.
I don't quite understand the anti-member sentiment that's implied in "If I were to join USATF, it wouldn't be for insurance."

Steve Vaitones
Steve, I recognize you as a highly respected, long-time official in New England. You've been around the block and know a thing or two about USATF dealings. However...

If your post was responding to mine, a few things: you said nothing I didn't already know, plus you read things into my comments and quoted me out of context. The full text of the quote should include: '...if I'm reading things right.' My post was looking for answers and you didn't provide any. I'm confused as to when a USATF member measurer is covered by USATF insurance and to what degree.

You're in a position to perhaps answer my question about what % of races gain USATF least for MA. If my guess is right, that barely 1 in 4 races are USATF sanctioned, our odds to be covered by USATF insurance is not very high. Given that, maybe it would be a better idea from an insurance stance to get outside coverage as Pete has done. I grant there are perks to being a USATF member but the insurance upside is a little lost in the 'wild west' world of road racing where events frequently go elsewhere for coverage.

We can't force events to gain USATF sanctioning.

I'll confess I haven't been a TAC/USATF member for about 20 years. You know, maybe I should join but it won't be for the insurance...if I'm reading things right. I made a suggestion once that all state/regional final signatories receive comp USATF membership. My suggestion was voted down. If push comes to shove and we're all required to join, I will.

It will not be the position of the RRTC to force anyone to join USATF. However, like any organization there are good reason to be a member and some not so good. The insurance is not a reason to join as I have emailed you to explain how the policy affects us. I thought you undersood how it works. If this is not the case then contact me in a private email.

I feel that we at RRTC should be supportative of a group that supports us. USATF does exactly that. It's really your decision to join or not. It's not that expensive and we as FS do receive some money to review paper work that would cover that cost if you do just two reviews.


The statement that you cant purchase insurance after the fact is true, but that does not preclude us having insurance BEFORE the start of measurement, we just need to have a policy that is written that way.

I would have no problem with each time having to login to the providers website and provide location and event information along with a fee of $5 to $10 for coverage of measuring a course.

I would point out overall policies that have an incremental event charge are not unusual in sports activities like ours. If you do a triathalon you are likely to have to purchase a yearly or event based membership that in part also pays back to their insurance policy.

I am not a USATF member, nor a regional certifier, I am just the average joe local running club member who does measurement. Our club is a RRCA member and through that our club has some insurance that protects some one, something, (never quite sure what), for club events both before, during and after the event. (I think just E&O for directors)

I would hope that, in volunteering my time to a club/sport, if I am hurt while putting in my time and energy the club/sport would help me out in return. As it stands now this is not the case. You work for free but if you are hurt you are on your own. On the other hand, if you were an employee receiving 1 cent an hour you would be covered by mandatory workman’s comp insurance.

Personally I think clubs are under insured, or maybe they have errors and omissions insurance but basically provide no insurance to their volunteer members.

Everyone else at the event has insurance coverage, the city has an indemnity policy, the police are covered and we indirectly pay for that through their fees, the medical personal etc. Everyone except the poor volunteer who is giving his time for free but is cut adrift if hurt.

If a runner collides with you and you crack your head open on the curb you are left to try and locate the runner, prove their negligence or culpability, and sue them. Good Luck.

I think, in the world of rising health costs, and evaporating insurance coverage, clubs must come to grips with the fact that a good third of their volunteers have no personal health or insurance coverage. (In my experience it is the working class or their children who makes up the majority of the race day volunteers.)

I don’t think many volunteers get hurt very often, but we, through the RRCA, or USATF, or some other group large enough to organize a large coverage should be looking into an umbrella policy that covers all volunteers. It should not matter if you are riding the measurement bike, the lead bike, or picking up cups.

It’s not just the man on the bike measuring the course or leading the race that is at risk, it is also the volunteer on the interaction or the girl bending over in the road who is picking up cups that were discarded from a water stop. We need to address all the people who are helping make the event work.

We know that for the most part, most of the time, everyone goes home with smiles on their faces. But some times things happen. As a sport, as a nationwide group of associations, we should be looking for umbrella coverage, not just an errors and omissions policy to protect the club and directors.

P.S. I realize this is not a burning issue in most developed nations that have a national health insurance system, but because the US is woefully behind the times in this regard, insurance is an issue for clubs and volunteers in the US.

The Triathletes have us beat, they even have medical insurance worked out for all the athletes competing in sanctioned events. Link to information on USA Triathlon's insurnace policy for compeeting athletes
Last edited by jamesm
Getting individual 'unbrella' polices, with each person negotiating our own, just can't be the most logical or cost effective way to do this.

I would draw your attention to our sister organization in the UK, 'UK:Athletics'.

They have a system of identifying and insuring everyone. From their website:

"Anyone who is currently involved in the sport in any capacity, including acting as a volunteer at road races, who has not already applied for an UK Athletics Endurance Officials Licence is urged to do so."

"Holding a UK Athletics Officials Licence provides additional benefits including personal accident insurance when officiating or travelling directly to or from events organised or recognised by UK Athletics and travel insurance when officiating abroad."

They are way ahead, not just in insurance but also in setting up a series of grades for race officials and having health and safety courses so that risks are minimized.

Check out this link: Information on becoming a UK endurance race official
The links and forms attached are illuminating.
Last edited by jamesm

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