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A fellow measurer shot me an e-mail the other day, mentioning that a RD in their area advertised their course as "certified." The RD did not have the "XX18xxxXX" listed.
The measurers sent the RD an e-mail informing him to amend his advertising to remove the statement about the certified course.

Their question to me was: "Does anyone enforce this sort of behavior? Does USATF or RRTC have the ability to go to a RD and say 'stop it?'"

My reply to them was: "I think USATF would only be concerned about course certification if it is tied to a sanction. As for RRTC, I don't think we're in the 'enforcement business.'"

I've been more aggressive in telling RDs I work with to place the certificate number in their advertising. I spend a great deal of time educating runners in my area about the benefits of certified courses (and the difference between certification and sanctioning): I tell them how to search for course maps, and often I will answer the "hey, man, is this course certified" question. there any recourse from the NGB level, or from the RRTC level, that *should* be taken when a RD decides (by sin of omission or flat out ignorance) to inaccurately describe their course's measurement?
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USATF/RRTC does not own the words certified or certification. We should always refer to it as "USATF certified" or "USATF Certification" and do what we can to get others to also refer to it that way.

There's not a whole lot we can do to prevent an RD from saying his course is "certified" because it doesn't really mean anything. We can be a lot more threatening if he/she incorrectly claims their course is "USATF Certified." And for that reason we should do what we can to make that second phrase the common usage.
Hi Michael. Good question. I wish we did have an enforcement arm -- but in honesty, in recent years, we have not needed it here in Western NY.

More than a decade ago, many races here would improperly lay claim to having a "certified course", "USATF certified course", or worse yet, a "USATF sanctioned course". That really troubled me. The misnomer was just as often an intentional subterfuge as it was an honest mistake.

I found a non-confrontational and very effective solution to this problem.

Since 2000, I have published on the web an ordinary continuously updated calendar of about 350 local road races. My races calendar has become the "go to" resource for local area runners and the RDs know it. I indicate on each listing the USATF Certified Course status. I either list the certification number, which is also a link to the USATF certified course map, or I leave the field blank. ( you can see our simple calendar here: Currently we only have 212 races since we dont list any event until the RD commits to a date/time/venue).

Having the course certified is a good thing to do. It means the distance run may be true, records may possibly be ratified, and the times collected by the timer will be meaningful. Its a technical hallmark of any "good" road race.

It's not for everyone. No non-championship race needs to have a certified course. But, no race may claim to be certified if they are not. We don't play games with the term "certified" Mark. In this context, it has only one meaning.

If a race falsely (or mistakenly) advertises that they are certified, via any means, I will then overtly indicate for the runners that the course is "NOT CERTIFIED". I also inform the RD what has transpired and what he can do about it. That's all I have been doing.

It was surprising to me how effective that became. As it turns out -- no race wants to be overtly labeled "NOT CERTIFIED". The suspected illicit practice has all but stopped here. We used to see this gambit 3 or 4 times every year! We even had a respected timer advising RDs to obfuscate their un-certified status by getting the sanction and then claiming to have a "USATF sanctioned course". That nonsense has stopped.

Jeff John
USATF/RRTC Certifier
AIMS/IAAF "B" Measurer
Buffalo, NY
Great points, Jeff.

Wish I had a dollar for every time a citizen-runner who knows I measure said, "man, you need to do something about the 'XYZ' course." My response is that I do not chase down RD's; if they want me to measure I easy enough to find.

Most of the race directors in this area - save one or two - aren't concerned about distance certification. And I usually make no bones about the fact I will not run their races because of that fact. Most of the races here are put on by RRCA clubs and I represent the national organization - funny how several of the non-RRCA clubs/events have taken an interest in getting races measured, though.

Good calendar, too. I try to put the certificate information on my calendar postings if I know it.
Hey Mark, thanks for your valuable commentary. I agree: multiple fronts! But, perhaps I need to reiterate: IN the USA the term "certified" as pertains to a road running event already has an established meaning. We really do not need to wait for the etymology of "USATF certified" to evolve any further.

Any race, that asserts it has a "certified" course when in fact it does not is engaging in an abject prevarication, i.e, they are lying.

Most RDs understand that revelation of their apparent dishonorable proclivities will be very bad for business. Therefore, I do not hesitate to contact them and explain it in the nicest possible way to help the RD have a more successful event.

A decade ago, that was a real problem here. We need to communicate and educate. I've not had to do that for this issue in many years. Smiler
Kevin, I like the thought. We've heard this reasonable suggestion before... that we make a certified course be a requirement for the sanction. The very realistic argument against it was fear of hurting the sanctioning business.

Actually, I think things have changed and it might make sense today. The new rules require that we must have both sanction and certification to ratify any record.

Because of that reality, in order to prevent the tragedy of an unratifiable record, it makes good sense now to do more to encourage race organizers to get both.

I think most of us already consider these two elements indispensable qualities of any good road race.

Their question to me was: "Does anyone enforce this sort of behavior? Does USATF or RRTC have the ability to go to a RD and say 'stop it?'"

I was addressing the question above.

If the race calls its course "certified" then the answer to the above question is No, the USATF/RRTC has no ability to stop the RD, even if everyone believes certified=USATF certified.

If the race calls its course "USATF certified" then the answer is Yes, the USATF/RRTC has the ability to stop the RD.

So if you want the USATF/RRTC to enforce something here, then the first step is to help people understand that certified does not equal USATF certified.
That's right Mark. The USATF will vigorously enforce its trademark name and logos. That may be be an angle. But that's not the primary issue of the original poster, nor mine. We're concerned with a race unintentionally, or otherwise, defrauding the runners.

Its my understanding the USATF does have a potential say in related issues if the race is sanctioned, and a lot of say if it is a USATF Championship.

We've had some success in stopping this type of bad practice here without calling in legal guns from USATF.

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