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Road Running Technical Council Minutes
USATF 2014 Annual Meeting – Anaheim CA
RRTC Meeting – Thursday, December 4, 2014

Attending: Eric Barron, Bob Baumel, Todd Byers, Andy Carr, Gary Corbitt, Jim Gilmer, Irene Herman, Neale Johantgen, David Katz, Justin Kuo, Carol McLatchie, Lester Mount, Mark Neal, Gene Newman, Dave Oja, Jane Parks, Ron Pate, Rick Recker, Bill Roe, Duane Russell, Ron Scardera, Doug Thurston, Lindsay Toussant, Steve Vaitones, Matt Weingardt, Gary Westerfield, Mike Wickiser, Toni Youngman

The meeting was called to order at 9:35 am by RRTC Chairperson Gene Newman. Gene reported that Neville Wood has stepped down as Validation Chair and is being replaced by Mike Wickiser. Gene thanked Neville for his service over the last 10 years. Mike pointed out that he did it before and looks forward to stepping back into the position. It was noted that Duane Russell and Logan Burgess will do a verification on Dec 6th 2014 for the Half Marathon Championship course in Houston. Gary Corbitt was introduced and explained that he is working on history preservation. Gary’s dad, Ted was one of the Pioneers of course measurement. David Katz pointed out that Ted Corbitt was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening.

Gene has appointed some additional Final Signatories, who will reduce the burden for the Certifiers in some states with many certifications. Appointed at this time are: Neyl Marquez (IL), Logan Burgess (TX), Doug Thurston (CA), Brad Smythe (NC) and Nathan Porch (DE, PA & NJ). For this purpose, Gene looks for measurers who are proficient at generating maps in the proper digital format and who are recommended by their Regional Certifiers.

Agenda Items discussed:

1. Modify Application for Certification of a Road Course so, when using a previously certified calibration course, it will require entering only the certification number of the calibration course, instead of having to send a copy of the calibration course certificate and map. (Note: this was actually decided at our 2013 meeting, but hadn’t been implemented yet.)

2. What to do with historical documents? This includes 17 legal cases of Ted Corbitt’s documents/possessions that the NYRRC is still storing, and various other collections of course measurement related material. There was much discussion on this topic. Several people expressed good ideas and said they would look into ways of implementing them.

3. Establishing an Award in Ted Corbitt’s honor (discussion continued from last year). Gene was told that although we can present awards within our group, we can’t establish a new award that would be recognized by the whole organization, because of a limit on the number of awards from LDR committees. David Katz said this makes no sense, as the Officials give hundreds of awards. David volunteered to investigate this issue. Jim Gilmer, one of our “at large” members, will be in charge of getting the award set up.

4. Title below signature line on certificates: We decided that everyone who writes certificates for certified courses will simply use the title “USATF/RRTC Certifier” on the line below their signature. Anyone who has the authority to write certificates is a “Certifier,” whether or not they review others’ work. We will not make any distinction between Regional Certifiers, Final Signatory Measurers or RRTC Officers in this signature text. If the Certifier is also an IAAF “A” or “B” measurer, that status will not be stated in the signature portion of the certificate, because it isn’t relevant to certification. However, for courses that are actually measured by an “A” or “B” measurer, that status should be included in the part of the certificate that lists the measurer info.

5. Including IAAF Question(s) on Certification Application: Toni Youngman suggested last year that we modify our application forms by adding questions that are currently on IAAF forms but not USATF forms. In this way, measurers could fill out just one application; use one copy for USATF certification, and send another copy to Bernie Conway (IAAF Measurement Administrator for the Americas) for IAAF certification. Ron Pate indicated that Bernie already accepts our current USATF forms. The IAAF forms do include a significant item that isn’t on our USATF forms, namely, an “essay” question titled “Overview of the Measurement Procedure” that asks for a narrative of the measurement. Such a narrative can often be useful in helping a Certifier understand what the measurer did. Toni suggested that it might discuss items such as offsetting, weather, other special issues (e.g., if parts of the course were measured on different days or in different directions). It can be short and sweet or as detailed as the measurer wishes. It was suggested that we might call this a “Comments” section instead of narrative, and make it optional. We will enhance our application form by adding such a question or questions. Toni will work with Bob Baumel to make it happen.

6. Adjustment Question on Course Measurement Data Sheet: The question at the bottom of this form currently asks, “How much did you add or subtract, and where (start, finish, turn-around point)?” This often leads to ambiguous answers. To make it clearer, we will change this to a two-part question: How much did you move the point (start, finish or turn-around), and how much did this change the course distance? The item will also ask measurers to include a diagram if necessary.

7. USATF Policy requires Championships to be Pre-Verified. What does this mean? Gene has tried to explain it to the LDR Chairs. The object of pre-verification is to avoid the need for post-race measurements when records are set. Since this is all based on the possibility of records, there’s no point in pre-verifying a course if record-setting isn’t possible because the course has too much drop or separation. Assuming that a course meets the drop and separation criteria, the best way to meet the pre-verification requirement is to have the original certification measurements done by two measurers with IAAF status (either two A’s or an A and a B). If this is done, no additional measurements are required. If only one of the original measurers has IAAF status, then a “Verifier” will have to be sent in to do an additional measurement before the race. If none of the original measurers has IAAF status, two Verifiers will have to be sent in to do additional pre-race measurements. If Verifier(s) must be sent in, the race organization is responsible for paying their expenses and a stipend for their measurement(s). We agreed that these stipends should be in the same amounts as specified for post-race verifications (with the key difference that payments for pre-verifications are made by the race organization, while payments for post-verifications are made by USATF). If there are two Verifiers, each Verifier will receive this amount. The amounts paid to Verifiers for their expenses must be worked out by agreement between the Verifiers and race organization.

8. Mike Wickiser’s GPS document: We’ve posted a statement about GPS during the past year ( Meanwhile, Mike Wickiser prepared a document that discusses the inaccuracies in greater detail, including comments about intermediate splits, which usually aren’t certified. Mike intended this as additional information for race directors and other interested people. Can we post this and provide links from our currently posted GPS statement to Mike’s document and perhaps other relevant documents? Gene will run this by Bill Roe to get his thoughts on appropriate links.

9. Accuracy of Split Descriptions on Maps: We decided these are important, and anything that represents us ought to be accurate. Assuming that splits are measured as part of the certification measurements, their descriptions on the map should be reasonably accurate, relative to permanent landmarks if possible. If there are no good landmarks, GPS coordinates should be given. Considering that we normally certify only the full course distance (not intermediate splits), we can’t actually force measurement of splits. However, if splits haven’t been measured, it needs to be stated explicitly on the map. For example, we might write: “intermediate split information not provided as part of certification measurement.”

10. Submitting Adjustments to a Previously Certified Course: Our manual doesn’t specify exact methodology for adjusting a previously certified course, or for submitting the application to certify the adjusted course (e.g., which forms to submit). It was noted that methodology can vary considerably, depending on details of the course, so this is a case where too much documentation isn’t a good thing. It’s best if the Measurer contacts the Certifier for advice on adjusting a particular course. Meanwhile, we decided that, when certifying an adjusted course, the map of the adjusted course should include the certification number of the original course that was adjusted – and this should be added to our lists of map requirements.

11. If a Measurer’s work is Repeatedly Unrealistic: A method that worked well in one recent case was to bring in a good measurer to work with the person. It’s the Certifier’s responsibility to try to ensure that work is done properly, so the Certifier might refuse to certify the course, or might refer it up the line (“We’ll consider certifying it, but must check first with Vice-Chair,” etc.). Generally, it should be handled at the lowest level possible, but the Chair or Vice-Chair should be notified of actions taken.

12. Do RRTC Officers need to attend the Annual Meeting? We decided that attendance is not required but is expected.

Other Topics:

Mark Neal expressed concern about Recovering the Content of our Bulletin Board if the company that hosts the service were to drop it. Bob Baumel mentioned the “Wayback Machine” which is part of the Internet Archive at and provides a (partial) archive for this and numerous other websites. It isn’t complete because the frequency with which Wayback Machine “crawls” a site depends on the site’s popularity (and our bulletin board isn’t exactly one of the web’s most popular sites). It’s possible to make their archive somewhat more complete because, if you follow a link from an archived page to a page that isn’t in their archive, they often provide an option to grab the page from the web and add it to Wayback Machine. Another idea suggested is to ask our bulletin board’s current hosting service if they can provide backup files for us. Note: the company that hosts our bulletin board has changed its name several times: from “Infopop” to “Groupee” to “Social Strata” ( but they’re still the same company, and have been in business since 1996.

Measurement contest: Ron Scardera set out the course for this year’s contest. Duane Russell noted that, for every year’s contest, maps and entry forms can always be found in the USATF business office. The course length this time was 183.71 m. The top finishers were:
   1. Jane Parks: 183.74 m
   2. Duane Russell: 184.10 m
   3. Toni Youngman: 186.3 m
Gene Newman got the booby prize.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:11 pm.

Minutes prepared by Bob Baumel, RRTC Secretary
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Thanks for posting these minutes. It's great to get a sense of the happenings.

I'm interested in the fact that the meeting was held on a Thursday. Will the RRTC meetings be on Thursdays in the future? I would like that-- my wife and I put on a race that is almost always scheduled for the same weekend that the USATF convention wraps up-- but if meetings are on Thursday I could possibly get to it and back for the race.

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