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Kevin Lucas' proposed reorganization of RRTC was tabled at the last Annual Meeting. It will be reopened for discussion and possible action at the upcoming Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

The subject has received recent attention on the USATF Associations message board:

I put my opinion forth on that site as follows:


By Pete Riegel – Ohio Certifier, Past Chairman, RRTC

The statements as to the effectiveness of RRTC as presently constituted show a gloomy picture as contrasted with reality. The claims for improvement under the proposed reorganization paint a rosy picture, without giving any information as to how the bright future is to be achieved.

The proposal reads “There isn’t a plan to regularly develop and train new measurers.”
Fact: Each year over the past 20 years about 50 new people have been added to the list of course measurers.

The list of those recommending adoption of the proposed amendment includes not one active course certifier. Kevin is not a certifier. He is a final signatory (granted for past service as a certifier), and not authorized to certify any courses other than those he measures himself. Kevin’s present editorship of Measurement News has been touted as something new. This is not the case. Measurement News has been around since 1982. Kevin has been editor for the last three issues.

In the proposed makeup of the reorganized Council we see elected Chairs, Vice-Chairs, Sport Committee Members, Associations Committee Members and Athletes. Conspicuously absent from this group are certifiers – those who do the actual work.

To be an effective certifier a person must know the measurement work intimately. People with this qualification may or may not be present in an Association. Presently certifiers are drawn from those who have measured race courses and got them certified. They must also be willing to do the job. At present RRTC has sufficient people to handle all of the applications for certification that are submitted, and to do it in a timely and effective manner.

From its onset RRTC has strived to serve all races which wish to have an accurate course. No particular political allegiance is asked for. To do this we keep the communication links as short as possible – the measurer communicates directly with the certifier. There is no in-between linkage with any other entity. This allows the process of certification to be fast and effective. This has always been the primary goal.

It is in USATF’s interest to serve the entire road running community effectively. RRTC has a very good reputation within the road running community. Runners like certified courses. Measurers appreciate fast and accurate service, and they presently are getting it.

Once the measurer has got his course certified, further communication with race director, USATF Association or others is up to him. RRTC’s work is basically limited to certifying courses and supplying expert measurers when they are needed for validations of courses on which records are set.

Within RRTC our structure has always been consensual. We certifiers know each other, and we know who is good at what. These relationships have been built up over many years. We do the things that our various people can do. Our leadership has historically been arrived at by consensus. The Chairman is not an absolute monarch. He consults. He serves as the main point of contact to RRTC. Most importantly, he is willing to do this. Finding people who are both willing and able is not always easy. Both attributes must be present. We cannot create effective people by giving them a blazer and a straw hat.

Certifiers take satisfaction in the technical work they do. Whether they would take equal satisfaction in doing more, as they may well be asked to do under the proposed reorganization, is not clear.

RRTC works well as an effective national system of producing accurate road racing courses. Dividing it into multiple pieces, each piece working in a slightly different way, does not seem to be a way to do an effective job for the entire country.

Before voting in favor for the proposed amendment one should consider that tearing down a proven system in favor of an unproven one is very risky. Once the present structure is destroyed, it may be difficult to reestablish if the new system does not work out as planned.

As far as I know it has not yet been proposed that the Associations should take over the certification of accuracy of running tracks. Perhaps this should be the next step if road course certification is put under the supervision of the Associations.
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I signed up to join the Yahoo message group that Pete mentioned above, 48 hours ago. My status is, according to Yahoo, is "pending member of this group, which means that your membership has not yet been approved by the moderator". This message group is maintained by the USATF Associations Committee. I have had no response from the Associations Committee as to whether or not my membership to group has been accepted or declined or whether it's even under consideration. I declared myself as a State Certifier as part of the sign up. I am a paid up USATF member. What gives?
Once again, we wer forced to make some last minute changes to the Mystic Country Marathon course. The course is the 1st 6 miles of the Niantic Bay 10-mile course. The result was that the measurement package and request for certification was late to the certifier. The turnaround was excellent. The following email was sent to Jane Parks (CT Certifier).


I just opened yesterday’s mail and found the cert for the Niantic Bay 10 Mile Race. Thanks for the speedy turnaround. Even with me sending the wrong map in the package, you managed to have the cert in my hands before the race.

If you’ve been following the discussion in the RRTC forum and on the USATF Associations bulletin board you know that one of the things that Kevin Lucas has been harping about in his recommendation to bring the certification process more into the control of the individual associations (Bad idea-from my perspective) is the turnaround time between measuring and providing the cert to the race director. Any delay in this particular certification (CT06016JHP and CT06017JHP) process was all mine. The certifier performed flawlessly.

Thanks again

Pete Volkmar
Guido Brothers Escort Service
As they used to say on the radio, there's "the rest of the story."

On race day, someone parked a car across the first mile of the 10 mile course, and the runners wound up running short. Pete measured the route as run that afternoon, and the true distance (I think it was 9.1 miles) was posted online. It defused a lot of potential bitching from the entrants, although it would have been worse had it occurred in the marathon. Nice work, Pete.

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