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I am sorry to report that a giant of the measurement community, Pete Riegel, died yesterday, Memorial Day. I wrote to Pete yesterday to share with him a beautiful map that a local measurer, Diana Bean, made. Pete's wife, Joan, wrote back to me with the news.

I have a lot of good memories of interacting with Pete. Wayne Nicoll, John Disley, and I measured the Orange Bowl Marathon while the race was in progress. This was about in 1988. I'm the only one of the four still alive.

Pete was a true leader when the measurement community needed one and saw to it that procedures were put in place so that a certified course really meant something.

He will be missed.

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Sadly, this is the case.


May 28, 2018, Columbus, Ohio

Peter “Pete” Riegel, 83, beloved husband to Joan for over 59 years, dad to Stuart (Bonnie) and Thomas (Tina) was known for his complete support and love for family. A mechanical engineer, Pete retired from Battelle Memorial Institute’s Columbus Laboratory in 1995 after a 25-year career in research. His professional achievements include his work on the development of deep-sea diving equipment for America’s aquanauts at Sea Lab, as well as improvements to safety equipment for air flow in coal mines. A widely recognized patent includes the non-drip nozzle on gas station hoses that prevents gasoline spillage.

Pete was a dedicated long-distance runner, finishing hundreds of marathon and ultra-marathon races. He combined his love of running and analytical background to help perfect the current international system for measuring road race courses. Known world wide for his contributions to the sport of distance running, he headed the US team to design and measure the marathon courses for the 1984 and 1996 U.S. Olympics, as well as the U.S. Men’s Olympic Marathon Trials race held in Columbus in 1992. Pete brought a scientific approach to measurement and certification. Pete was friend, mentor and teacher to hundreds of new measurers through scores of international measurement seminars. Pete also founded and edited Measurement News, the newsletter of the Road Running Technical Council of USA Track & Field, and was a founding member of the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.

Says his wife, “Our lives with you were truly an adventure!”

Funeral services will be private. Please share memories of Pete with his family at

So long, Dad. You were the best.
RIP Pete Riegel (2018). Pearly Gates is the finish line. Pete is probably attending a Measurement Summit Meeting with the likes of A.C. Linnerud (2000), Glen Lafarlette (2005), Ted Corbitt (2007), Paul Hronjak (2012), Paul Oerth (2012), Allan Steinfeld (2017), Ken Young (2018), Wayne Nicoll (2018), and any other course measurement giants I have omitted. Tremendous body of work left behind by each of them.
Last edited by kevinplucas
A true pioneer of the craft, I will remember Pete fondly for his tireless efforts in helping put together last summer's measurement seminar in Cuyahoga Falls -- one of his final contributions in many, many years of selfless service to the road running community.
Stu: Thank you for that poignant and informative remembrance of your dad. Wow.
One thing I will always remember about Pete is how incredibly encouraging he was. Whether you were a new measurer, a new certifier, or a new bulletin board poster, he always responded to your questions/posts with useful information of course, but also with much encouragement for whatever you were saying or doing (even if he disagreed with you!!). In that way, I think he helped many people maintain their enthusiasm for doing this work. I know he did for me.
This is very sad news indeed. Condolences to the Riegel family and to all of Pete's many friends. I agree with all that has been said, including Mike's comment that writing all that needs to be said would take many pages.

Pete always closed his letters with "Best Regards", and I always felt he really meant that, it wasn't just a pat phrase. I'd like to collect all those sincere and best regards and send them to comfort Joan and Tom and Stu and family right now.
I am heartbroken by this news, even though I knew it would come.
Pete was both a friend and mentor to me for almost 2 decades. When I first started measuring courses, he was unfailingly patient, answering questions and reviewing data with always helpful suggestions.
Somehow he must have seen some glimmer of potential in me as he asked me to create and direct MNForum, an AOL mailgroup that was the precursor to this Bulletin Board. Other positions in RRTC followed, as well as what was the highlight of my measuring career, being a part of the validation team for the 2000 Men's Marathon Trials in Pittsburgh, where I got to meet and ride with such other legends as Paul Hronjak and Wayne Nicoll.
Pete had a sense of humor that was the definition of droll, and he often used it to cut to the heart of the matter during discussions at RRTC meetings or online chats.
One of his greatest accomplishments, and an indication of what a visionary he was, was in establishing the RRTC as a Council rather than a Committee when TAC/USATF was being formed, thus insulating us from the political BS that plagues so much of that body in its other branches, as well as the logical and simple to understand system of making certifiers specific to each state rather than to USATF Associations.
If Ted Corbitt was the George Washington of course measurement then Pete Riegel was certainly its Jefferson. A great man and a good friend who I will truly miss.

Out of plain old curiosity, I searched the USATF database to see just how many courses Dad measured. 

377, from 1984-2010.

That includes London and San Juan, but I know there were others. The LA Olympic course, Manaus (Brazil) and Jakarta I remember. The real total is probably over 400, and this only counts the ones from 1984 and later. I think he started measuring around 1978 after running the Athens (Ohio) Marathon and questioning his time. Turns out that course was a couple miles too long, and thus was a second career born.

Can anyone say how many he certified (measured by others)? I'd be really surprised if it's less than 1000.

Hi Stu,

Your dad will always be a towering giant in our field.  His thoughtful  guidance was very important to me.

You pose an interesting question.  I scanned the national database.  I did not differentiate between courses he certified and others measured from courses he both measured and certified, but based on our course id suffix certifier initials standard, Pete Riegel certified at least 2019 courses!

What really surprised me was the geographic range of his prolific service:  He certified courses in 34 states (including DC and PR).

I am so glad that I got to meet him in person in Ohio at the measurer exercise.  I kept my ears peeled for any gems he might speak, and he did not disappoint.  Within the first 3 minutes of our session he responded to an attendee’s question with this gem:  “Rounding is the enemy of accuracy!”.   Although I’d never forget it, I wrote it down – and have ceased all rounding prior to final display although our procedures permit it.



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