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Validation Report NY05119KL
Freihofer’s Run for Women
Albany, New York July 19/20, 2006

This report was prepared by Mike Wickiser

Validation of the Freihofer’s run for Women course ID# NY05119KL was conducted to resolve issues derived from a failed and unauthorized race day pre-race measurement which resulted in the course being shortened below the advertised distance. For that reason records cannot be considered for the 2006 race.

The pre-race (for 2007 and future) validation was arranged by Neville Wood and agreed to by Race director George Regan. Jim Gilmer was assigned as local liaison and he 7 I worked together to conduct a measurement workshop as well as the actual validation of the course – NY05119KL.

Calibration Course; The Empire plaza calibration course has been in use for several years. This course was found to be short during a 1996 Workshop & Validation of the Freihofer’s course. It was then re-certified at 1020.0358 feet (NY96004WN) by Wayne Nicoll based on the workshop measurement exercise. Kevin Lucas certified the course at 1020.4689 feet. Jim Gilmer measured the course by EDM and certified it at 1020.3 feet exactly. Immediately upon completion of the Measurement workshop, Jim Gilmer, Gary Gelvin and I used my Keson 165’ steel tape and checked the course in spite of a moderate summer rain. Temperature correction found the course to be 1020.3486 feet. Given the rain measurement the EDM certified distance of 1020.3 feet was accepted and used for the validation measurement by Jim Gilmer and myself the following morning, Sunday July 30, 2006.

Meeting at the Freihofer’s start – finish area Sunday morning at 6:00AM Jim Gilmer, Gary Gelvin & I calibrated our bikes and rode the course as well as parked cars would allow. Jim led the route, I followed, and Gary followed along to observe and assist. This course travels throughout Washington Park. For race day the park is cleared of all parked cars and the entire roadway is available to runners. For the validation several cars blocked the SPR and it was necessary to make several offsets and measure some sections along the curb. During the measurement a wrong turn off S. Lake Street extended the course and rendered a length of 5117.3032 meters. Upon review the error was noted and a reference to reference measurement between S. Lake & Washington Park shortened the course by 300 meters rendering a course length of 4877.0806 meters. This caused further review and it was found that although we had followed Western Ave from S. Lake we had gone down State Street rather than continue on Western to Henry Johnson blvd. A second reference to reference measurement to correct this was made from Western Ave. West of State to Washington Park. That adjustment added 132.9927 meters to the course length.

The Validation measurement after corrections rendered a length of 5010.0686 meters. That length is determined without addition of the SCPF and was made by the use of several necessary offsets to work around parked cars along the route. A measurement of the route without parked cars to deal with might render a slightly shorter course and it is my opinion that the course _NY05119KL should be listed as Pre-Validated for future use with no adjustment.

I would like to thank Jim Gilmer & Gary Gelvin for their assistance and perseverance in working in the rain and in overcoming the several problems encountered with this validation. Without their assistance I might have not been able to complete the validation with any degree of confidence.
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My reply here is to ask a few pertinent questions of the validation work performed on the 2006 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5 km course. Yes I have a vested interest; I measured and certified the course in 2005. More importantly, in any intellectual endeavor, to ask questions is required and necessary. What is great about this forum is that we can ask each other questions without bruising egos. Finding the best solution is always much more exciting.

With that said, I like to say off the top, the introductory language used by my esteemed college is too value laden. A fuller context of "failed and unauthorized" is sorely needed.

To say "failed" relational to any validation traditionally means the course didn’t pass a validation measurement. Failure isn’t the case here, the course clearly passed. What is meant by "failed"? Jim Gerweck’s measurement yielded 5014 meters.

The same is true of use of "unauthorized." Jim Gerweck is a RRTC Vice Chair and performed the pre-race validation. How is an officer of the RRTC unauthorized? To my knowledge our Validations Chair, Neville Wood, was aware that the validation going to take place. Maybe not made formally aware, but aware. Additionally, besides the posting at the Course Measurement Bulletin Board on June 2nd (, George Regan, race director, Jim Gilmer, NY Regional Certifier, Pete Riegel, OH Regional Certifier and pass Chair, and myself all knew that a pre-race validation would take place. What is meant by "unauthorized"? There isn't an informal or formal reporting process for pre-race validations that I am aware of.

The suggestion that the Freihofer’s course was shortened based on the pre-race validation measurement, to a distance below the advertised distance needs to be proven. Jim’s measurement yielded 5014 meters and the course was shortened by 9 meters. Mike Wickiser’s combined measurement(s) yielded 5010.0686 meters, with agreement of Jim Gilmer. Excepting Mike’s measurement, shortening the course by 9 meters would still yield 5001.0686 meters, a full 1.0686 meters longer than 5000 meters and 3.5686 meters longer than the 0.9995 final standard. Therefore, the statement that the course was short needs to be proven not just suggested by simple opinion. We have many competing measurement lengths here, which one(s) do we except? What if we added to the mix my 2005 course certification measurement (1), with agreement of a second measurer, Pat Glover (2), and two additional pre-race measurements of 5005 meters (one to mark split points (3), again with agreement of a second measurer, Pat Glover (4), and one assisting the pre-race validation with Jim Gerweck.(5))?

The pronouncement that "records cannot be considered for the 2006 race" is overly dramatic and moves from opinion to rhetoric. We all know that it is a highly collaborative effort of recommendations and decisions made by the validator, validations chair, and records committee, combined with race documentary information, which all ultimately decides the fate of any record(s) consideration and ratification. Let’s wait and learn what is decided by all parties involved. There are 24 possible age group records at stake here, let’s error on the side of reasonableness. See Granite State Timing’s Champion Chip timed results at:, possible records are noted “*” Under USATF Age-Group guideline.

The question of the true length of the Empire Plaza calibration course, which is used in many Albany course measurements, including the Freihofer’s course, is an interesting one. As Mike Wickiser says, the pre-1996 calibration course was found to be short, but how short was it? It is important to know what the pre-1996 Empire Plaza calibration course measurement was. After all the pre-1996 course was measured by a very experience measurer, Wayne Nicoll, former Vice Chair. We now know the course was re-certified at 1020.0358 feet in 1996 by Mike Wickiser, in 2005 re-certified by me at 1020.4669 feet, and finally, 2006, Jim Gilmer shot the course with an EDM yielding 1020.30 feet.

The next question that comes to mind: was the pre-1996 Empire Plaza calibration course correction added or subtracted from the calculation of the Freihofer’s road course validation performed at the same time? If accepting the 2006 - 1020.3 feet EDM measurement as the truest measurement, shouldn’t 3.1704 inches per 1020.3 feet (2006 – 1020.30 – 1996 – 1020.0458 = 0.26420 feet or 3.1704 inches) be added to the re-calculation of the 1996 Freihofer’s road course validation? It seems to me that the full 50.97 inches (1.294 meters) should be added – how much did the course said to have failed by in 1996?

These questions and certainly others need to be examined before any definitive pronouncement is made. We can only speculate as to Jim Gerweck’s real findings because no report has been submitted, officially or unofficially. How long should we wait for his report to be filed?

What reasonability does the RRTC have to the patient people at the Freihofer’s Run for Women to finally get it right? Don’t Jim Gerweck and Mike Wickiser have equal responsibility to submit their validation reports timely and publicly? How much did the two wrong turns on the validation ride effect the reliability of Mike’s validation final calculation?
I'm troubled by a few things in Mike's validation report but want to zero in on his comment that times from the '06 aren't eligible for records. Mike's own findings place the course long of 5 km. That makes the times record eligible. His misgivings about a previously certified and prevalidated course being shortened prior to the race are one thing and, technically, understandable. However, proof is in the validation pudding, performed by Mike and some errant local officials and the course came up smelling sweet. It's long enough. Mike's misgivings are grounds for debate apart from this discussion.

Imagine trying to explain to the running public that a course found long enough is ineligible for records. Physics can explain how Beckham bends a ball but I doubt Mike would be able to successfully persuade the average Joan out there a Freihofer's 5000m+ course isn't long enough for her time to count.
Here's an analogy to the Freihofer's situation: In 1989, Cathy O'Brien raced to a world record 51:47 for 10 miles at Crim in Flint, MI. Applause for the record was tempered by the fact a lead vehicle had errantly gone the wrong way around a 'square' of streets; it hadn't followed the certified path. Being the man in the middle, I contacted Pete R and asked him how he felt about possibly validating a course that had been run the way Crim had...w/out mentioning which race I was referring to.

Pete felt a validation was okay. Then he was told which race was affected and what was on the line. Later that night, I watched a tv show of the 10 mile and noted another spot where the course was run different than certified. The next day I rode around the course as it was run and found it just long of 10 miles by about 20'.

A month later I accompanied Pete on the validation ride, following the course as it was run and not as certified, and we found the course about 15' long'; O'Brien had her WR!

I stand by my feeling that it would be darn hard to convince the general public that a course shown to be long enough isn't eligible for records. The prevalidation ride by Jim G should be regarded as a new certification. How hard is that to understand?

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