Skip to main content

ARIZONA CERTIFIED TRACK – a recent correspondence

From: Justin Kuo []
Sent: Sunday, December 16, 2007 10:51 PM
To:; Steve Vaitones


I found a recent article about a new track in Arizona. The article says the track will be certified by the USATF. I know RRTC can measure and certify tracks for LDR events. Does the USATF also certifies tracks for non-LDR events?

Thank you. -- Justin

In a message dated 12/17/2007 7:54:17 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, writes:


I will pass this on to Pete for his comments, since I don't know that answer.

Best, Gene

From Pete to Gene:

Dear Gene,

I have no idea what USATF may do regarding certifying tracks, except for what we in RRTC do.

RRTC does certify tracks, but only for the length of a single lap. This can be done either with a curbline taping or a length-width measurement. This is generally done to support ultradistance records.

Certification of every course length that may exist on a standard track requires more expertise than most of us in RRTC possess. It is a precision surveying job, and is generally done by the company that builds the track.

The Arizona Daily Star article may be correct. USATF may indeed certify tracks, but if they do I believe it is simply a rubber-stamping of whatever document is provided by the builder.

If one surfs around on the IAAF web site one can find what it takes to have a track fully IAAF certified. As I recall the cost is on the order of $25,000, and I believe only four IAAF certified tracks exist. The foregoing should not be taken as true - my recollection may be faulty.

An RRTC measurement certificate does NOT imply that the track various markings are accurate. We have always been willing to certify the lap length of a track based on presentation of a surveyor's document. Mostly these have been lost by the track owner, or maybe they never got one in the first place.

Best, Pete
Original Post

I supply calculations and drawings for all Mondo tracks constructed in North America. For your information I have attached a copy of a typical certification that Mondo supplies its customers.

Wayne T. Armbrust, Ph.D.
Computomarx (TM)
3604 Grant Ct.
Columbia MO 65203-5800 USA
(573) 445-6675 (voice & FAX)

Justin Kuo wrote:

Pete and Gene,

Here's a thread that came up regading certifying a track in the Racewalk list. We may want to post Steve response and Wayne's authoritative reply to our new bulleten board.

Thank you. -- Justin

1a. Re: Need a little Track measuring help
Posted by: "Wayne T. Armbrust" wta61
Date: Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:18 am ((PST))

Since track measurement is my business, I thought I'd add a bit to what
Steve said.

I don't know where you got the 6" outside lane one. As Steve says, the
measure line is either 20 or 30 cm outside the inner white line or curb.
All measurements in track are in metric, none are in inches.

While USATF doesn't certify tracks, the IAAF does, at a very high price.
There are three levels of certification. The lowest level just certifies
that the track is the correct length. The higher certifications test the
resiliency and how level and wavy the surface is. When the IAAF
certifies a track for length the radius of each curve is measured at 12
points and averaged. Each measurement is to be within 5 mm of the
desired value. The alignment of the straights must be within 1 cm. The
overall length of the track must be no shorter than the nominal length
and no longer than one part in ten thousand long, i.e., a 400 meter
track has to measure between 400.000 and 400.040 m, a 200 meter track
between 200.000 and 200.020 m. In this country basically anyone can
"certify" a track, the "certification" being worth no more that the
reputation of the person doing the "certification."

A measuring wheel will not give acceptable accuracy. They are usually
accurate to about one half of one percent. You must use a certified
steel tape and make the proper temperature correction or else a
certified electronic distance measuring device.

Your formula (I think you have your notation mixed up a bit) is
basically correct if you use the proper value for the location of the
measure line. You can use this method to get a rough estimate of the lap

Steve Vaitones wrote:

> What's your definition of "certifying" an indoor track?
> Are you simply trying to determine the length of one lap (or don't trust
> the stated distance?)
> That would be 2 x length of the straightaway, + circumference of the
> circle
> that would be made by joining up the 2 bends - using a radius that
> goes out
> to 6" beyond the inner line. That is assuming the track is symetrical
> There's been some recent discussion among measurement folk on tracks
> being
> certified. USATF doesn't certify tracks (according to the Road Running
> Technical Committee chair) and there's nothing elsewhere in the rulebook
> I've found about certifying a track
> When a track record is set, there's a need to have the
> plans/documentation
> by the engineers/surveyors on the lining of the track.
> Tracks are measured 20cm from the inner line if not curbed, and 30 cm
> from
> the inner line if curbed. (USATF Rule 160)
> I'd advise asking for the documentation that the facility might have from
> whoever put down the line.
> If that's not available, get a surveyor to do the job.
> Your doing the measurements will give you a distance, but I I suspect
> that
> it wouldn't be recognized by any groups related to the sport unless
> you've
> got some engineering credentials behind you.
> Steve Vaitones
> At 10:58 AM 12/18/2007, you wrote:
> >I need to certify an indoor track and want to make sure I have the
> >math correct. With a wheel it measures 184 meters 6" outside the line
> >in lane 1. To get the mathematical distance is the following formula
> >correct?
> >
> >Variables
> >X = Total Length (Apex-to-Apex)
> >Y = Total Width of Track
> >
> >Formula
> >(X2 – Y2) + Yð (PI)
> >
> >2nd question – Do I need to measure any specific distance (6") outside
> >line if there are no rails?
> >
> >Thanks - David Harriman


Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.