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Road Running Technical Council Minutes
USATF 2011 Annual Meeting – St. Louis, MO
RRTC Meeting – Saturday, December 3, 2011

Attending: Bob Baumel, Andy Carr, Fred Finke, Jim Gerweck, Sharon Good, Paul Hronjak, David Katz, Justin Kuo, Carol McLatchie, Marilyn Mitchell, Mark Neal, Gene Newman, Jane Parks, Ron Pate, Rick Recker, Pete Riegel, Tom Riegel, Duane Russell, Steve Vaitones, Gary Westerfield, Jay Wight.

The meeting was called to order at 08:33 by RRTC Chairperson Gene Newman. Gene introduced RRTC Officers and Certifiers present at the meeting. He noted that Mark Neal had replaced Pete Riegel as Bulletin Board moderator, while Jim Gerweck and Duane Russell switched positions mid-way through the year (Duane is now Western Vice-Chair, while Jim is Workshop Co-Chair). Mike Wickiser, the other Workshop Co-Chair, was not present at this meeting.

Officer Reports: All Officer reports were collected in advance of the meeting and posted in the Annual Meeting document library at (An initial version of these Officer Reports was posted over a month before the meeting; however, some officers continued to send updated versions of their reports up to the time of the meeting—and in one case after the meeting—resulting in updates to the posted collection of officer reports). Because these reports are posted online, they will not be repeated here. Following are comments and discussion at the RRTC meeting related to the officer reports:

Jane Parks, as RRTC Bookkeeper, had attended a seminar the previous day on USATF committee expenses, and described new procedures for expense reimbursement. Expenses to be reimbursed will need to be submitted using a new Excel form, and personal vehicle mileage must be documented using Mapquest.

Bob Baumel, as RRTC Webmaster, discussed a meeting that he and Gene and a few others had the previous evening with USATF Webmaster Jason Wright and his assistant Karl Eagleman. It was agreed that Bob will be given access to the USATF site’s new “Content Management System” in order to convert RRTC web pages on the USATF site to the newer format. Jason agreed to modify the certified course search engine to enable successful searches when people enter certification codes containing hyphens or spaces, and to change the search engine’s definition of “record eligible” course according to the new version of Rule 265.5(b) adopted at this Convention (increasing the separation limit from 30% to 50% and eliminating the possibility of wind assessment on courses that exceed the separation limit).

Bulletin Board moderator Mark Neal explained that he rearranged areas on the board and added a section with information targeted to newer measurers. He also commented on the page at which Mark maintains on his own website containing links to interesting topics on the board. It was agreed that Bob would add links to this page on and the Measuring Tools page on, while Jim Gerweck would add links on the RRCA and Road Race Management sites.

Jim Gerweck, who became Workshop Co-Chair midway through the year, discussed a seminar he conducted online for Hawaii measurers using GoToMeeting software. The session included the McBrayer video and PowerPoint presentations by Jim and Duane. The McBrayer video is still on VHS tape, but Jim intends to redo it in an online format. Duane suggested holding online seminars (or webcasts) twice a year. It was noted that Mike Wickiser (the other current Workshop Co-Chair) plans to hold a seminar somewhere in Spring 2012.

Gene Newman’s report included reference to the pre-validation measurement performed in October for the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon course. This prompted discussion of a problem in which Duane Russell’s measurement indicated the course to be significantly shorter than found by the other 4 measurers. As discovered later, it happened because Duane’s counter was intermittently missing counts. This was caused by a bad tooth inside the Veeder-Root counter mechanism (and although Duane was using one of the newer JR-type Jones counters, it could happen just as easily with an older Jones-Oerth counter, because both include the same Veeder-Root mechanism). The problem apparently occurred because Duane kept the counter mounted on his bike while doing faster (non measuring) rides. Counters can be damaged when riding at speeds greater than about 25 km/h (about 15 mph). Tom Riegel agreed to include warnings about riding too fast with all new counters that he sells. It was also suggested that all major validations be done with at least 3 measurers so, if one measurer has an equipment problem, the good measurements will be easy to identify.

Agenda Items:

Who should be assigned to do a validation? This topic arose because, in a recent validation, the person assigned to do the measurement, although a competent engineer, had never measured a course for USATF/RRTC Certification. After some discussion, it was decided that for all validations: The Validation chair will try to get an A or B measurer if possible, or otherwise the most experienced road course measurer available. A question was raised as to how a measurer can obtain IAAF ‘A’ or ‘B’ status. The answer is that existing ‘A’ measurers can recommend appointment of new measurers to Bernie Conway, the IAAF Measurement Coordinator for the Americas.

Races names on Certificates and Maps: Problems were reported that, in some cases, the race name written on a certificate didn’t match the name on the course map. This was happening because, in the interest of promoting more “generic” course names, some certifiers had taken it upon themselves to substitute a generic name on the certificate, in place of the original name submitted by the measurer. In discussion, it was decided that although we can encourage race directors and measurers to use more generic names, the course name written on the certificate should always match the name on the map, which will normally also match the name submitted on the application for certification.

Lifetime of certification after course is validated: The question had been raised whether successful validation of a course might extend the lifetime of its certification. Gene pointed out that this had already been decided previously. The answer is “no.” The certification still expires 10 years after the year of certification.

Should calibration course numbers be on the map? We decided that, to avoid confusion, race course maps should not include the certification number of the calibration course used in measuring the race course – because including both numbers would create a likelihood of mixing them up.

Separation limit rule change: It was reported that the Men’s and Women’s LDR Committees both agreed to amend Rule 265.5(b) on record eligibility for courses with separated start and finish so as to match the IAAF rule on this topic. Thus, the separation limit will be increased from 30% to 50%, while also eliminating the possibility of records when separation exceeds 50% (i.e., the wind assessment provision for courses that exceed the separation limit will be eliminated). Pete Riegel recounted the story that when IAAF originally adopted a 50% limit (after USATF had already been using 30% for some years), the process was entirely political; therefore, Pete suggested saying no to IAAF. Nevertheless, as the LDR Sport committees had already approved the change to Rule 265.5(b), the change was guaranteed to go through.

Certification code format: Many certifiers write certification codes with hyphens or spaces between the three components of the code (State abbreviation, numeric portion and certifier initials). In fact, when our system of certification codes was standardized in 1984, hyphens were always used. Currently, the certified course database on the USATF website displays codes with their three components run together without separators. And if somebody does a search by entering a code that does include hyphens or spaces, the search returns no results. We have informed the USATF webmaster about this problem, and he has said he will fix it (see Bob’s webmaster report above). Therefore, we expect this problem involving the search engine to be fixed, and we will not force certifiers to change the way they write certification codes.

Other Discussion:

Validation vs. Verification terminology: David Katz pointed out that RRTC’s use of the word “Validation” (as a remeasurement to check the length of a certified course) isn’t consistent with IAAF terminology, where the word “Verification” is used for that concept. Moreover, some of the IAAF terminology on “Verification” has also been incorporated into the USATF rulebook. David didn’t say we need to change our terminology as a result, but we need to be aware of the differences.

Race Sanctions required for Records: David also urged a major education campaign on the need for races to be sanctioned in order for records to be approved. This isn’t exactly a new rule. It’s been on the books “forever,” but it’s getting strictly enforced now. Therefore, if races want records to be possible in their events, the course must be certified and the race must be sanctioned. We agreed that race directors, measurers and certifiers need to be informed about this policy, and it needs to be publicized on websites and the like (as one possibility, it was suggested that search results in the certified course search engine should indicate courses as record eligible if the race is sanctioned). We know that, in practice, a major reason for races to get sanctioned is to obtain insurance, and therefore, races who choose to obtain insurance elsewhere may decide to forgo sanctioning. It was noted, however, that if a race has obtained insurance elsewhere, they can get sanctioned for a very low fee.

Special award for Pete Riegel

To honor everything he’s done for course measurement and certification over the past 30 years, Pete Riegel was presented by Gene with a special Appreciation award, consisting of a USATF athletic jacket. Pete retired from his official RRTC duties in early 2011, although he remains a Final Signatory measurer and also remains very active on the RRTC Bulletin Board.

Measurement by Pacing contest:

Following its tradition at Annual Meetings, RRTC conducted a pacing contest again this year, although layout of the contest course by Duane Russell and Mark Neal (on a path around the famed St. Louis Arch) occurred rather late this time. Preparation of the course and printing of maps/entry forms wasn’t completed until around dinnertime on Friday, leaving very little time (just Friday night or early Saturday morning) for people who wished to enter the contest. Among the people who submitted entries, Pete Riegel had the closest measurement, and Bob Baumel was the runner-up (Bob admitted that he didn’t actually pace the course, but used the ultimate “eye in the sky” method, i.e., Google Earth). Due to the late setup of this year’s contest, there hadn’t been time to purchase the usual valueless prizes given to winners, so the top finishers didn’t receive awards to take home with them.


The meeting was adjourned at about 11:00. However, several attendees remained for a while longer to see a demonstration of map drawing techniques by Duane Russell.

Minutes prepared by Bob Baumel, RRTC Secretary
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On putting hyphens in cert numbers: Probably best to wait. Jason Wright said he'd fix this when we met with him the evening before the RRTC meeting, but he probably forgot. I'll need to contact him a few weeks into the new year, so I can start getting set up to use the USATF site's new CMS for managing web pages. At that time, I'll remind him about fixing the search engine. The search engine may need other changes too, e.g., if we want it to remind people that races must be sanctioned for records to be possible.

We'll post it here when the search engine has been fixed to allow entering cert numbers with hyphens.

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