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Here's an article titled CNMI joins road race measurement clinic. It was published in the Saipan Tribune on July 14, 2011. The complete article is available at


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Thank you. -- Justin

CNMI joins road race measurement clinic

By Roselyn Monroyo

Two officials from the CNMI attended a road race measurement seminar in Australia last week.

Robin Sapong of the Northern Marianas Athletics and Marianas Visitors Authority's Ed Diaz participated in the eight-day seminar at the Regional Development Centre-Oceania in Brisbane, joining 16 other individuals from Oceania Athletics Association-member countries.

At the RDS, Sapong and Diaz learned how to use the Jones Counter for road race measurement. The group had theoretical and practical sessions for eight days with each session lasting for about nine hours.

The Jones Counter is named after its creator-Alan Jones-and used with a bicycle to measure road race courses. According to Jones Counter website, the counter consists of a gear assembly, fashioned of galvanized steel, to which a counter is attached. A delrin gear is attached to the counter shaft. The counter records the revolutions made as the wheel rotates. It is fastened to the front wheel of the bicycle, on the left side, and may be read by the rider while riding. The counter records 20 counts for each revolution of the wheel. By riding the bike over an accurately measured course to establish the number of counts per mile (or kilometer), one can then measure a course to a high degree of accuracy.

Sapong said the seminar will be very useful to the CNMI, as it hosts a lot of road races, which attract off-island participants.

"OAA realizes that a lot of countries are using road races to boost tourism, so it will be helpful to these countries to have accurately-measured races as advertised. In the CNMI, we don't want runners to come here knowing we have a half marathon or marathon and they end up doing short races because of the wrong measurement. It is embarrassing," Sapong said.

Diaz joined Sapong in the seminar, as MVA is the lead government agency that helps promote road races in the Commonwealth. These events include Saipan Marathon and Marianas Coffee Trail Run.

Sapong said NMA is planning to hold a similar road race measurement seminar in the CNMI. He added the course is also applicable in bike races.

"After the seminar in Brisbane, NMA will now measure first the course of every tournament we will be organizing before letting the public participate in our races," Sapong said.

The NMA secretary general added that they will be holding a 5K/10K race this month and it will be the first race course to be measured using the Jones Counter. The race set for July 30 is a fundraiser for the CNMI Team that will compete in the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia next month. More details about the fundraiser will be released.
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