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Road Running Technical Council Minutes
USATF 2008 Annual Meeting – Reno, NV

1st Meeting – Friday, December 5, 2008

Attending: Bob Baumel, Norman Brand, Irene Herman, David Katz, Justin Kuo, Bruce Leasure, Carol McLatchie, Gene Newman, Ron Pate, Rick Recker, Pete Riegel, Bill Roe, Duane Russell

The meeting was called to order at 14:45 by RRTC Chairman Gene Newman. All present were introduced. Officers’ reports were presented or, for those officers not present, summarized by Gene. Written reports are available at and will not be repeated here.

Among additional comments related to officers’ reports: Gene mentioned that Duane Russell, who will be the new Workshop Co-Chair (along with Mike Wickiser), will conduct a workshop at the RRCA convention in March and was also setting up the measuring contest at the present USATF convention. Gene indicated that all of RRTC’s officers are now (or soon will be) USATF members. He pointed out that RRTC’s budget has been approved for 2009 at $12,000 which is the same as last year. As Gene will take over the job of Course Registrar, he stated that the Vice-Chairs will have more responsibility in reviewing certificates & maps before sending them on to Gene. In connection with Neville Wood’s Validation Report, Justin Kuo (USATF Records Chair) said there is only a small backlog of courses needing validation now, and he’s working on getting paperwork for record applications up to snuff before sending validation requests to Neville.

Duane Russell described the course he laid out for the measuring contest at this convention, consisting of a loop around the main floor of the casino, with a 25 m calibration course. Contest materials included detailed instructions and data sheets. Winners were to be announced at Saturday’s meeting.

Discussion then turned to agenda items:

Maps on Certificates: There was much discussion about map quality. Some maps fail to reproduce well when scanned in black & white (the standard procedure before posting them on the USATF website), because they’re too light, use colors, include photographs or have inadequate margins. It was agreed that Gene will develop a list of guidelines and distribute them to certifiers. A suggestion was made that measurers might enter a course into the “America’s Running Routes” utility on the USATF website and then just provide its URL. It was agreed, however, that this is acceptable only in addition to a standard certification quality map satisfying RRTC’s requirements, but cannot replace the standard certification map. As an addition to the requirement adopted last year that certifiers will write each certification’s expiration date on the map, it was decided that the starting date of the certification’s effective lifetime (paperwork submission date) must also be written on the map. A possible format was suggested by Bill Roe: “Certification valid from (date) to (date).”

Old Files of Certificates: Currently, RRTC has many files of paper certificates. For new certifications, maps and certificates are both routinely scanned, although only the maps are normally posted on the USATF website. Record-keepers would like the certificates to be more available. Others questioned whether it’s necessary to save certificates at all, given that virtually all of the information from a certification can be found on the map and/or the tabular data posted on the USATF site. It was agreed that, for now, it’s best to continue scanning certificates, and also provide redundant storage for the resulting scan files.

Post-race Validation Policy: Questions have been raised whether post-race “Validation” of a course necessarily includes re-measuring it. Standard practice for many years has given the Validation chairman discretion to consider a course Validated under certain circumstances, even though a re-measurement isn’t performed. Meanwhile, existing USATF rules suggested that Validation always required re-measurement. To clarify this situation, Steve Vaitones drafted a proposed change to USATF Rule 265.3 to be considered at this USATF Convention, and he provided two different versions of the proposed amendment. The first version would define Validation as “an independent measurement conducted by a designee of the Road Running Technical Committee prior to or after the event, or the course having been originally measured by an IAAF measurer.” The second version would allow for the possibility of dispensing with re-measurement when the original measurement meets “criteria established by the validation chairman, approved by the executive committee of the RRTC, and publicly available on the USATF website.” This second version was preferred by a unanimous vote of people present at this RRTC meeting.

Cross Country Course Measurement & Certification: David Katz described cross country running as the “purest form of running,” where distances are approximate, and the actual distance is unimportant. He said we shouldn’t get near the topic of certifying cross country courses. All others at the meeting agreed.

Listing of Measurers on USATF Website: To help Gene post info for the measurers list, all certifiers need to collect info on the measurers in their area, and update this once a year.

Ted Corbitt Archive: David Katz said he’d spoken with New York Road Runners president Mary Wittenberg about this. NYRR will provide resources to scan material, and it will be warehoused by NYRR. Jim Gerweck and David Katz will go through the material to weed out unnecessary items. Results will be taken back to Jim, Gary Corbitt and Mary Wittenberg. Carol McLatchie offered to help with the project.

Other Discussion: David Katz commented on the difference between duration of USATF certifications (10 years) and IAAF certifications (5 years), and noted that IAAF has been cracking down on exceptions. To qualify for Olympics, World Championships, etc., a course must be certified by IAAF A or B measurers within the past year before the event. These IAAF requirements have no effect on qualifying to run in US Trials. Qualifying performances for US Trials may be set on courses that meet a 3.5 m/km drop standard, which is less stringent than the 1 m/km drop requirement for US records. Questions should be sent to Jim Estes at USATF.

The meeting was adjourned at 16:40.

2nd Meeting – Saturday, December 6, 2008

Attending: Larry Alferda, Marlene Atwood, Bob Baumel, Irene Herman, Carol Kuo, Justin Kuo, Bruce Leasure, Jon Little, Carol McLatchie, Lester Mount, Gene Newman, Ron Pate, Stephen Peckiconis, Rick Recker, Pete Riegel, Duane Russell, Steve Vaitones

Group photos were taken at 08:35. The meeting was then called to order at 08:40.

Insurance Presentation: Irene Herman described a “wrap-around liability” insurance policy that USATF has obtained for certified officials. The policy would cover measurers who are also certified officials while measuring courses for non-sanctioned races. (Existing USATF insurance already covers services for sanctioned events.) A handout describing the policy was distributed to all present. The cost of this new policy is being paid by the Associations, at a rate of $7.50 for each certified official.

Measuring Contest: Duane Russell presented results of the measuring contest. He said people used a variety of methodologies, and one person (who should know better) used the reciprocal of the correct “constant.” After correcting the math, results were fairly consistent, ranging from 320 to 380 meters, for the contest course whose official length was 354 m. The top two entrants, who received valueless prizes, were Justin Kuo and Pete Riegel. Complete results can be viewed on the Bulletin Board at

Post-race Validation Rule Change: David Katz reported that the Rules Committee has adopted the second version of Steve Vaitones’ proposed rule change, as RRTC wanted.

Other discussion: Duane Russell suggested creating e-mail distribution lists with a tree structure to go down to individual measurers, to enable communicating information. David Katz brought up a very old issue of whether to measure 30 cm or 20 cm from obstacles such as cones. In writing our road course measuring procedures, we decided long ago to simplify them by mentioning only the single clearance of 30 cm, although track procedures specify 30 cm for a raised curb and 20 cm for lines or cones. The issue can be relevant for race-walk loops, which are sometimes as short as 1 km. Bruce Leasure suggested clearer language about curbs is needed in our manual. There was some discussion on when a race can be considered a bona-fide competition for record purposes (Steve Vaitones observed that, according to Rule 262, there must be at least 3 competitors). On another topic, Steve Vaitones said logos on entry forms need to be brought up to date (he even found one using the old TAC logo). He noted that Andy Martin has a logo for USATF certified course, which we ought to post on our website. Additional discussion included complaints about the starting practices of some races, regarding which runners are allowed to start up front.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:10.

Minutes prepared by Bob Baumel, RRTC Secretary
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