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I find that I am often frustrated in referencing splits in my locale as there may not be a distinctive landmark such as an address or a manhole nearby. Even things like lightpoles have a tendency within a 2 year span to be less than permanent in our hurricane prone corner of this country! The roads are repaved very often here as well making it essential to be very specific for not only the start and finish but for the intermediate splits since the nail/washers go bye bye...

What do you do when you have difficulty finding appropriate references? Often I have to reference locations of more than 150 Ft. from the split. Thanks to all of you kind folks who have made such thoughtful replies and joined in these discussions--Matt
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Referencing splits is easy in settled areas. Cross streets, mailboxes, front doors of numbered houses – there is no shortage of reference points. Out in farm country it is different. Endless cornfields, with nothing at the side of the road but telephone poles. These aren’t always numbered, either. I’ve often had points referenced as “172 feet east of the fourth pole east of Leppert Road on the north side” or such.

Rails-to-trails courses are even worse - they don't even have telephone poles.

You can’t do much about this, except to use the best mark you can find, even if it's far from the split. You can always put in a nail, but that’s hard to spot. I look at it like this – the race director will have a nicely painted course when I am done with it, and it will not be hard for him to find the marks. After the first race has been run, it’s his problem to stay current with the course.

There is a local 15 mile run that I measured a long time ago. I was called by the race director (fifth or sixth one since I measured) and asked to remeasure the course, although it had not changed. “Why?” I asked. “We can’t find the marks” was the answer. I grumpily agreed. I found out why they couldn’t find the marks – they had never repainted them in the decade since it was originally laid down.

In remeasuring I found that some of the reference points I’d used had vanished. If the race organization had done their job, they could have kept up with the changes – but it was easier to call me.

Once the measuring and certification is done, the owner is the race director. It’s not the measurer’s problem if they fail to maintain the course.
If its the race directors job to maintain the course then maybe we need a standardized hand out that we give to the RD after the measurement, along with the cert. It should spell out when the course expires and what they should do to maintain the marks. It should spell out what is OK, like repainting and what is not, like guessing, or moving the start or finish.
It should also tell them what sort of road maintance or changes require a re-measure. We may know, but it seems a presumption on our part to assume they know. Should we have a standard document?
I measured the Red River Run 10 K ( ND 02039 PR ) and painted kilometer split marks. It's an out and back on park roads and bicycle paths. Several months later the Fargo Park District put kilometer posts at my kilometer marks. They even put a post at 2.5 km. This course is now the best marked 5 K route that I know of. You can start at either end of the route and see how many kilometers you have run. For example one post has "1 K" on its north side and "4 K" on its south side.

Dale Summers

I'm considering measuring a point to point course on a rural country highway. For certification purposes, would PK nails and GPS coordinates be sufficient for documenting the intermediate splits? Of course, I would put down paint and possibly some survey flags for the client to be able to find the splits and I would provide landmark references for start, and finish, but I'm wondering if survey nails and coordinates for the intermediate splits are sufficient documentation for the course to pass certification.

I have included only GPS coordinates for mile mark location descriptions on some of my certification maps. Keep in mind that if you live in the northern half of the country your PK nails aren't likely to survive the snowplows over the winter. So you might want to tell your RD not to spend too much time looking for them in future years.

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