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Message to Ryan Lamppa from Gene Newman and Gene's reply:


I once did a certification of a closed loop in a convention center. It was
marked off as I guess you could do a parking lot. Hence, considering that I
feel you could do the same for a parking lot. I will put this out there for
others to comment.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ryan Lamppa []
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2006 2:35 PM
To: 'Gene Newman'
Subject: RE: Rock & Roll record attempt

>>As you stated per USATF Regulation 6, this would not be a certified

Actually, Gene, I'm saying that per USATF Regulation 6, a parking lot if
properly coned/curbed/laid out could be certified. To me, a parking lot
could be considered a road because: 1) made of asphalt/cement like a road
and 2) used by cars like a road. See the below.

Per USATF Regulation 6 (Certification of Road Courses), which reads, in
part, as follows:

A) Definition of course:
1) Path: A running course shall be defined as the streets, roads, paths,
marked paths on grass or gravel or dirt, and/or paths using established
permanent landmarks or benchmarks which is intended as the runner's path for
any type of race.

P.S. I know road races have started and/or finished in parking lots, but not
aware of a road course entirely/the majority in a parking lot.
Perhaps something to ask the RRTC community.

Ryan Lamppa, USATF Records Vice Chair
Road Running Information Center
415 E Figueroa St, Ste A
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

(805) 696-6232; fax = (805) 696-6252
Last edited {1}
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Parking lot courses are nothing new. In general they are a pain to lay out because of the need to document a lot of cones.

I measured a course at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. OH86084PR. It had about 1 1/2 miles going around the parking lot.

See below for detail of the parking lot portion of the course:

Despite the interest in the measurement and validity of a road course in a parking lot, what caught my eyes was the subject line in Ryan’s reply to Gene, which said; Subject: RE: Rock & Roll record attempt.

Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopian, is making his U.S. road racing debut at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in Arizona, attempting a World Record for the Half Marathon running the second half of the full marathon course. The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in the 10,000, Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, is going after the current 59:16 World Record best time.

This is an exciting and unique event for road racing. How are event organizers coordinating such a performance?
To me it would be very surprising if USATF had not considered at some point in time the validity of courses that are entirely withing the confines of a parking lot. The USATF 5k racewalk championships has been held in Kingsport, TN for several years on such a course. One of the advantages as I see it of using a parking lot for a short course from a race management standpoint is that it does not require road closure, only a parking lot that can be easily closed off or is not used on evenings / weekends. The USATF 5k championship course map is copied below:

Last edited by matthewstudholme
I agree with Matthew's comments regarding parking-lot road courses being easier to coordinate with police, road blockage, etc. I'm considering a new mile course that would be totally contained within a large parking lot.

But the wording in regulation 6 sounds very much like parking lots would *not* be allowed. The inclusive use of specific words "streets, roads, paths" do not describe a parking lot situation.

I'm concerned that, if I certify a parking lot course now, the regulation 6 definition might be used against me later to remove my road-course designation.

A similar situation happened to me just recently. I had a track-based road course that was measured, certified and approved as a USATF road course in 2001. Now I've been told that the course cannot be considered a road course, even though it was accepted using the understanding of the definition in 2001.

I would like to see the regulation 6 wording modified so that there's very little left up to interpretation.
David Fox,

Can you be more specific? What course was originally certified? Who told you it was uncertified?

Later - I looked at the course list. The only track that was measured in 2001 was the Sullivan North High School Track. David Fox was one of the measurers. It is certified as TN01029RH. Its status has not changed since it was measured. It is still a certified track. It was never certified as a road course.

LDR running records may be set at multilap events, where each lap is timed and recorded for each competitor.

Perhaps someone can amplify this
Last edited by peteriegel
Hi Pete,
When we measured it, we did so with the sole intention of using it as a road mile for state records. At the time, we could find nothing telling us that the track could not also be counted as a road course.
(hence my concern about parking lots, since they don't appear to fit within the reg.6 definition of a road course)

At Matthew Studholme's advice, I just dug up a copy of our measurement certificate. Low and behold, we specified the "type of course" as a "track", not a "road race".

I think we marked the form as "track" thinking that we were describing the venue, not the type of certification we were seeking. Well at least now I understand how we thought we had a road mile when in fact we had a track mile.

If parking lots are indeed OK, then I still would like the definition of a course to be broadened to include that.

For what it's worth, I'd prefer to see the road vs track distinction be dropped. A distance is a distance, as long as the other parameters (elevation, proximity of start/finish, etc) are legal. Otherwise, why exclude a track when a parking lot can be defined as a road?

Last edited by davidfox
The track (measured at 401.8 meters) can be used as a road mile for LDR records. For records to count, though, you will have to provide credible evidence that people covered the required number of laps. Generally this takes the form of lap sheets for the competitors.

Four laps won’t make a mile on this track, and I see no evidence that the extra few needed meters has been measured and is certified.

How do you tell it's a track and not a road? Simple. Look at your certificate. There should be a box labeled "track" checked off.

As far as I know, the road mile is not a record distance. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong. This being the case, you could dispense with the lap sheets and do something else to satisfy the organizers and runners that they experienced an accurate event. But the runners had better be informed that records aren't possible before they start. They get cranky when deceived.
I don't understand what it means when you say that the track can be used as a road mile for LDR records. All I know is that Buck Jones (TN recordkeeper) was told by Ryan that our track-based mile did not count as a road mile. Buck has been documenting mile records for TN.

The mile is documented in the course map and description as 4 laps plus 6.92 feet.
Ryan probably gave you the right answer. I have never gotten the distinction between road and LDR track straight in my mind. It seems curious that if you can set a 100 mile record on a track, why not a one mile? Is a puzzlement.

I downloaded the course map and saw no reference to an offset for the one mile distance. I'll check the course list, Maybe it's certified as a mile as well as a track.

Just looked. It is. TN01030RH is certified at the one mile distance, and the map shows it.
A critical issue with a course or part of a course in a parking lot is specifying the precise limits of the route. It gets more complicated, as everyone who's ever done it knows. I think making a distinction between a road and a parking lot is kind of silly, but aside from that rules clarification issue, we probably need to take extra care in specifying (even to the point of redundancy) exactly where the route lies. Beyond that there are the questions of how permanent are the reference points we are using, will the RD interpret the specs as we intend, etc. Of course the same kinds of issues come up when all or part of a course is in a park.
Retrack vs. road: Time was, there was no such thing as road records. I wonder if we are now at a point where a road record is "stronger" than a track record? I reckon a runner on a track could save as much as 30 cm per lap or 1.2 m per "mile", as opposed to any amount of SCPF run in a road race. On the other hand, it has now been established that humans cannot run as well on a turn as when running straight. Just wondering.

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