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News from USATF Road Running Technical Council

Decided at 2012 Annual Meeting: ‘Replaces’ Field to be Removed from Certificates, Award to be Established to Honor Paul Hronjak

2012-12-01: In the RRTC meeting at the USATF Annual Meeting in Daytona Beach, FL, it was decided that the Certificates for certified courses will no longer include a ‘Replaces’ field. The Application for Certification will still include a question on whether an old course is being replaced, but this will be worded in such a way that the only courses entered in response to this question will be old courses that have changed physically and are no longer usable as certified.

Among other decisions at this meeting, criteria will be developed for course measurers to be listed on the USATF/RRTC website, and these criteria will be posted on the site. Notes will be added in the Course Measurement Manual and the Application forms to encourage measurers to obtain more consistent data when riding a calibration course; in particular, the spread shouldn't exceed 2 or 3 counts when riding each direction of the calibration course.

Terminology involving “Validation” and “Verification” will be changed as appropriate in RRTC documents. The former term has long been used by RRTC to refer to a remeasurement to check the length of a certified course, but IAAF and USATF rules now use the latter term for this process (while “Validation” refers now to checking that a race was run correctly on the course as certified). The title of RRTC “Validation Chair” will not be changed, as this officer may be involved in either process. The title of RRTC “Measurement Workshop Chair” will, however, be changed to Education and Training Chair.

Paul Hronjak, who had been Vice Chair East since 2000 and North Carolina Certifier since 1995, passed away a few weeks before this meeting. RRTC will establish an award in Paul’s name. This award will be presented at the Annual Meeting to a person who has done an outstanding job for the RRTC.

[People at 2012 RRTC meeting]
Some of the people at the RRTC meeting at the 2012 USATF Convention. Sitting (left to right): Ron Fitzpatrick, Bob Baumel, Gene Newman, Mark Neal, Demetrio Cabanillas. Standing (left to right): Jane Parks, Gary Westerfield, Steve Vaitones, Rick Recker, Toni Youngman, Duane Russell, Jim Gerweck, Carol McLatchie, Justin Kuo.

Policies on Choosing Validators, Course Names on Certificates Adopted at 2011 RRTC Meeting – Importance of Race Sanctioning Emphasized

2011-12-03: In the RRTC meeting at the USATF 2011 Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO, a policy was adopted on who may perform Validation measurements. In particular: The Validation Chair will try to get a measurer with IAAF ‘A’ or ‘B’ status if possible, or otherwise the most experienced road course measurer available.

As another policy adopted at this meeting, it was decided that when certifying a course, the Course Name written on the Certificate should always match the name on the Map, which will normally also match the name submitted on the application for certification.

Also at this meeting, it was emphasized that, in addition to having a certified course, a race must be sanctioned in order for records to be accepted. While this rule has always been on the books, it’s being enforced strictly now. All race directors, measurers and certifiers need to be aware of this policy.

A Special Appreciation Award was presented to Pete Riegel, to honor everything he’s done for course measurement and certification over the past 30 years. Pete retired from his official RRTC duties in early 2011, although he remains a Final Signatory measurer and also remains very active on the RRTC Bulletin Board.

[People at 2011 RRTC meeting]
Some of the people at the RRTC meeting at the 2011 USATF Convention. Kneeling (left to right): Tom Riegel, Ron Pate, Paul Hronjak, Gary Westerfield, Mark Neal. Standing (left to right): Fred Finke, Gene Newman, Duane Russell, Rick Recker, Jim Gerweck, Jay Wight, Jane Parks, Carol McLatchie, Bob Baumel, Andy Carr, Pete Riegel, Justin Kuo.

Refinement of Certified Course Adjustment Policy

2011-02-02: After much discussion by RRTC officers, certifiers and measurers, the adjustment policy adopted at the December 2010 Annual Meeting has been revised. The basic policy—that an adjusted course will not be given a new 10-year life unless the complete course is remeasured—has been confirmed. It was agreed, however, that in order to obtain a certification with a new 10-year life, a single complete remeasurement (instead of two complete remeasurements) will be accepted under certain conditions. The complete adjustment policy has been posted on the USATF website.

Policies on Certified Course Adjustments Adopted at 2010 RRTC Meeting

2010-12-04: In the RRTC meeting at the USATF 2010 Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach, VA, a policy was adopted on adjustments made to certified courses when the course is not completely remeasured. It was agreed that, without two complete measurements of the whole course (as required for a new certification), courses will not be given a new 10-year life. An adjusted course, if approved, will be given a new certificate with a new number, but this number will still include the original year of certification. This number will be selected as the next available number in the Certifier’s sequence from the course’s original year of certification, so the adjusted course will still expire 10 years after its original certification. A course may be adjusted any number of times, but the number is limited in practice because the expiration date won’t be extended when adjustments are made. Adjustments should preferably be made by the original measurer; however, if this isn’t possible, the choice of measurer to make the adjustment needs to be approved by the Regional Certifier.

Among other topics discussed at this meeting, it was agreed that Google Earth cannot be used as a measurement tool in Validations. There was also discussion on whether course certification should be tied to race sanctioning. While it was stated that course certification and race sanctioning ought to work hand in hand, attendees generally felt that requiring sanctioning of all races that have certified courses would significantly reduce the demand for course certification, reducing the overall accuracy of course measurement, and degrading the quality of the sport. Discussion of this topic has continued on the RRTC Bulletin Board.

It was announced that RRTC will be doing a Pre-validation of the course in Houston to be used for the US Olympic Marathon Trials in 2012. The pre-validation measurement will be conducted during the third week of October 2011, by teams of 3 women and 3 men to be selected by the RRTC Chairperson. The course itself includes 3 laps of an 8-mile loop. This same loop will also be used in the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championship to be held in Houston on Jan 29, 2011, giving athletes a chance to preview the course of the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials, which will be held on Jan 14, 2012.

[People at 2010 RRTC meeting]
Some of the people at the RRTC meeting at the 2010 USATF Convention. Kneeling (left to right): Bob Thurston, Carol McLatchie, Irene Herman, Ron Pate. Standing (left to right): Jane Parks, Rick Recker, Bob Baumel, Duane Russell, Gene Newman, Paul Hronjak, Lyman Jordan, Jim Gilmer, Jim Gerweck, David Katz, Justin Kuo.
 
[Pacing Contest Winners at 2010 RRTC meeting]
Pacing Contest Winners at 2010 RRTC meeting. Left to right: Bob Baumel (holding booby prize), Duane Russell, Gene Newman, Irene Herman, Jim Gerweck (contest course creator).

2009 Annual Meeting: Measurement Seminar to be held at 2010 Associations Workshop, Course Measurers to become USATF Certified Officials

2009-12-05: Marking a new level of cooperation between RRTC and the USATF Associations Committee, Associations Chair Karen Krsak, speaking at the second of the two RRTC meetings at the USATF 2009 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, announced that the 2010 Associations Workshop, to be held in Buffalo NY in August 2010, will include a Course Measurement Seminar. RRTC Workshops Co-chair Duane Russell will be the contact for this Seminar.

To enable course measurers to be covered by USATF liability insurance when measuring courses for both sanctioned and non-sanctioned events, RRTC and the USATF Officials Committee have reached an agreement that will enable course measurers to be regarded as USATF Certified Officials. The new category of certified official will be known as an "LDR Road Course Measurer." The program will be administered at the national level, with RRTC in charge.

Among other news at the RRTC meetings, it was announced that Mark Neal has been appointed as the new Regional Certifier for the State of Washington, replacing Mike Wickiser. Course certifications have been moving along at record pace, with over 2000 of them expected for 2009 by the end of the year. It was noted that new course map quality standards adopted a year earlier, although somewhat of a challenge to enforce, have improved certified course map quality significantly. The current map requirements can be viewed in the post by Gene Newman at the end of the thread titled NOTES ON CERTIFICATE AND MAP QUALITY in the RRTC Bulletin Board.

There was considerable discussion on the possibility of a fully electronic data stream for course certification applications, following a statement by RRTC Active Athlete member Ann Gaffigan that she could program a suitable web-based system. At this time, Duane Russell will work with Ann to develop a proposal, but RRTC policy on the issue has not been established.

Full minutes of the RRTC meetings may be viewed on the RRTC Bulletin Board.

[People at 2009 RRTC meeting]
Some of the people at the first RRTC meeting at the 2009 USATF Convention. Left to right: Jim Gerweck, Tom Riegel, Paul Hronjak, David Harriman, Gene Newman, Mike Wickiser, Justin Kuo, Bob Baumel, Ron Pate, Duane Russell, Carol McLatchie, Jay Wight, Rick Recker, Jane Parks, Pete Riegel.
 
[Pacing Contest Winners at 2009 RRTC meeting]
Pacing Contest Winners at 2009 RRTC meeting. Left to right: Carol McLatchie, David Harriman (contest organizer), Irene Herman, Paul Hronjak, Justin Kuo (booby prize winner).

2007 Annual Meeting: Expiration Dates to be Written on Course Maps, New Jones Counter to be Available Soon

2007-12-01: At RRTC’s meeting during the 2007 USATF Annual Convention in Honolulu, a policy was announced that when issuing course certifications, certifiers will always write the certification’s expiration date on the course map. This extends the policy originally adopted in 1997 that certifiers must write the certification number on the map. There had also been suggestions that Drop and Separation be added to maps, but this is unnecessary because those figures are always available in the Certified Course Search Engine. Some people hadn’t been aware that the search engine provides these figures; therefore, the Search Engine has been enhanced to make it easier to display Drop and Separation.

A new version of the Jones Counter, the digital counter that attaches to the front wheel of a bicycle and is used in the calibrated bicycle method of course measurement, has been designed by Tom and Pete Riegel. The project was undertaken because certain parts used in making traditional Jones Counters have become unavailable. The new version, known as the “JR” (Jones/Riegel) Counter, is expected to be available within the first few months of 2008. For more information, see the Course Measurement Bulletin Board and the new Jones Counter site at www.jonescounter.com.

There was some discussion at this meeting about USATF Insurance coverage and the extent to which it may benefit people who measure road running courses. Following the meeting, RRTC Chairman Gene Newman made some inquiries and prepared a statement about USATF Insurance Policy as it applies to course measurers. This statement has now been posted on the USATF website.

Also at this meeting, a suggestion was made that certifiers be more proactive in maintaining communication with the USATF Associations in their area, and that certifiers might accomplish this by sending an annual report to all such associations. Such a report might include number of courses certified, any special problems encountered, info on how to get a course certified, the difference between sanction & certification and the importance of getting both, etc.

Full minutes of the meeting may be viewed on the RRTC Bulletin Board.

[People at Honolulu RRTC meeting]
Some of the people at the Honolulu RRTC meeting. Left to right: Don Shepan, NM Certifier; Stu Riegel, Course Registrar; Jim Gerweck, Vice Chair (west); Justin Kuo, MA Certifier; Bob Baumel, Secretary; Rick Recker, MN Certifier, Gene Newman, Chairman.

New Policies on Interpretation of Validation Measurements

2007-08-01: RRTC has adopted new policies for Validation measurements, replacing the previous policies adopted in 1997. A “Validation” measurement is a remeasurement by an RRTC-appointed measurer to check an already-certified course. It may be either a Post-race validation, performed after records have been set in a race; or a Pre-race validation, performed before a race at the request of the race organization to avoid the need for post-validation in the event that records are set. Please read our complete statement of the new policies. Major changes from the previous policy are:

  • In accordance with established IAAF procedures, there is no more “allowance for error in the validation measurement.” Previously, if the validator’s measurement found the course to be between 0.9995 and 1.000 times the nominal race distance, the course would “pass” validation, although it needed to be lengthened to 1.001 times the nominal distance to be considered prevalidated for future races. Now, if the validator finds the course to be shorter than the nominal distance, by any amount, it simply “fails” validation, resulting in rejection of any pending records (if it’s a post-race validation) and invalidation of the certification.
  • Courses that “pass” validation need not be extended to include the full Short Course Prevention Factor (SCPF). Previously, if the validator’s measurement found the course to be between 1.000 and 1.001 times the nominal distance, the course “passed” but needed to be lengthened to 1.001 times the nominal distance to be considered prevalidated for future races. Now, such courses simply pass and require no further adjustment to be considered prevalidated. (Note: remember that courses must already be certified before a validation can be done—and the SCPF will always have been used during the original certification.) As in the past, courses that pass validation must not be shortened, even if the remeasurement finds a length greater than 1.001 times nominal distance, as any shortening would lose the status of having passed validation.
  • If the original measurements for certification of a course are done by two measurers with IAAF Grade A or Grade B status, and if those measurers use standard certification procedures (including the SCPF) and send an appropriate report to the RRTC Validation Chair, the course will be considered prevalidated, eliminating the need for any other pre-race or post-race validation.

Policy on GPS Announced at RRTC Meeting in Indianapolis

2006-12-02: At the RRTC meeting at the 2006 USATF Annual Convention in Indianapolis, RRTC Chair Gene Newman announced a policy on acceptability of course measurements done with GPS (Global Positioning System). Such measurements are acceptable only for measuring a calibration course, although only if the GPS device used is a professional surveying-quality instrument, and only if that instrument is operated by a licensed surveyor. GPS is never acceptable for measuring the length of a road race course. Coordinates determined by GPS may be useful in helping to document positions of points along a course, although only as a supplement to the distances from landmarks used conventionally for documenting such point locations.

Other issues discussed at the meeting included the question whether some sort of "grades" should be assigned to course measurers, and whether RRTC might establish a fund based on increasing the fees that measurers pay to certifiers, where the money would be kept by USATF and used for special RRTC projects. No action was taken on these proposals, which were left open for further discussion.

Full minutes of the meeting may be viewed on the RRTC Bulletin Board.

[People at Indianapolis RRTC meeting]
Some of the people who attended the Indianapolis RRTC meeting. Left to right: Bob Langenbach, David Katz, Gene Newman, Jay Wight, Jim Gerweck, Bob Baumel(glasses), Justin Kuo (behind Bob), Pete Riegel, Paul Hronjak, Don Shepan, Stu Riegel, Tom Riegel, Jim Gilmer, Norm Brand, Carol McLatchie.

Gene Newman chosen as RRTC Chairman; Jim Gerweck is Vice-Chair West

2006-01-04: Fred Finke announced on January 3rd that he and USATF President Bill Roe have chosen Gene Newman as the new RRTC Chair. Gene has served as RRTC Vice-Chair West since his appointment to that position at the 2004 RRTC meeting. He is also currently the Certifier for Arizona, after previously serving as Certifier for New Jersey and Delaware. He has successfully resolved conflicts in both Arizona and Washington State, so is well qualified to be the new RRTC Chairman at this time.

Gene's first act as Chairman was to appoint Jim Gerweck as the new Vice-Chair West. Jim has served as the Certifier for Indiana. He initiated RRTC's MNForum e-mail communications forum in 1997 and has been its moderator since that time. He has also been the editor of Measurement News, RRTC's hard-copy newsletter, since November 2002. Gene stated that he was impressed with Jim's knowledge about all aspects of measuring and RRTC.

As one more personnel change, Jim Gerweck has stepped down as editor of Measurement News, and Kevin Lucas will take on that task. The MNForum e-mail list has been discontinued, as it is felt that Pete Riegel's Course Measurement Bulletin Board has taken over the role of providing an electronic communications forum for issues involving course measurement and certification.

Possible Restructuring Among Items Discussed at RRTC Meeting in Jacksonville

2005-12-03: A proposal by Kevin Lucas that would massively restructure RRTC and the USATF Course Certification program was the major topic at the RRTC meeting on Dec 3, 2005 at the USATF Annual Meeting in Jacksonville, FL. Discussion on this topic was led by Fred Finke, Chair of the USATF Long Distance Running Division. Prior to this RRTC meeting, it had already been decided to table Kevin's proposal for next year, but the issue was discussed in order to air opinions. It is now Kevin's responsibility to reformulate his proposal for consideration at next year's Convention.

Mike Wickiser announced that he is resigning from his positions as both RRTC Chairman and Course Registrar. To fill the Chairman position, Fred Finke asked people to recommend candidates that Fred could nominate for approval by USATF President Bill Roe (USATF bylaws specify that the RRTC Chair be named by the President). A final decision is expected early in 2006. To fill the Course Registrar position, Stuart Riegel, son of long-time measurer Pete Riegel, had already volunteered prior to the meeting, and was easily approved. Mike will transfer his files to Stu, who will take over the Course Registrar duties at the end of January 2006.

It was reported that Neville Wood is now the RRTC Validations Chair, having been appointed shortly before this meeting to replace Paul Hronjak, who had been overwhelmed by work duties and unable to oversee the Validations program. Paul remains the RRTC Vice-Chair East.

RRTC Webmaster Bob Baumel reported that most content from RRTC's separate website at www.rrtc.net has been ported to the central USATF website. Bob now maintains the Course Certification and RRTC Committee areas on the USATF site. Meanwhile, the easily remembered URL www.rrtc.net remains available as a handy set of links for finding information about Course Certification and RRTC (most of which now resides on the USATF site).

[People at Jacksonville RRTC meeting]
Some of the people at Jacksonville RRTC meeting. Standing, left to right: Gary Corbitt, Kevin Lucas, Ron Pate, Mike Wickiser, Bob Baumel, Tom Riegel, David Katz, Pete Riegel, Gene Newman, Don Shepan (Norm Brand is seated in front).

RRTC Meets in Stamford, CT; Gene Newman to replace Tom McBrayer as Vice-Chair West

2004-08-25: RRTC met on Aug 21, 2004 in Stamford, CT, once again holding its main meeting separately from the USATF Convention. (RRTC also met separately from the USATF Convention in 2003, on that occasion meeting in Akron, OH.) Some highlights from the 2004 RRTC meeting:

After serving for 12 years as Western Vice-Chairman, Tom McBrayer is stepping down from this position, to be replaced by Gene Newman who is currently Arizona certifier after serving previously as New Jersey and Delaware certifier. Gene will officially take the reins as Western Vice-Chair on Sept 1, 2004.

Several changes will be made to the Certification Application forms and the Certificates written when a course is certified. For example, the item "Difference between 2 best measurements of course" will be dropped from the Certificate, as this kind of information, although very relevant for the certifier who reviews the original measurement data, serves no purpose on the Certificate once a course has been approved as certified.

Kevin Oonk of AMB Timing and Scoring Systems gave a presentation on the "AMB Activ" transponder system which uses an active (battery powered) transponder chip in place of the passive chips used in previously available chip timing systems. The AMB system also replaces the bulky mats of the passive systems with a wire loop which is taped to the road. RRTC is currently examining data from the AMB system and will make a recommendation regarding its use in timing road races.

As is traditional at RRTC meetings, a Measuring by Pacing contest was held among the attendees. The winners were Mike Wickiser, Bob Baumel and Kay Ungurean, all of whom received valuable Connecticut mementos. See complete results of the pacing contest (pdf file, 281 kB).

Some photos taken at this year's RRTC meeting:

[Tom Retires]
Retiring Vice-Chair West Tom McBrayer (left) presented with measuring jacket by RRTC Chairman Mike Wickiser.
 
[RRTC Executive Committee]
RRTC Executive Committee and other Dignitaries. Left to right: Bernie Conway (Head Certifier for Canada, IAAF Measurement Administrator Americas), Bob Baumel, Tom McBrayer, Mary Anne McBrayer, Mike Wickiser, Gene Newman, Paul Hronjak, Pete Riegel. (Not in picture: Jim Gerweck.)
 
[Meeting Attendees]
Meeting Attendees. Kneeling, left to right: Paul Hronjak, Kevin Lucas, Jim Gerweck. Standing, left to right: Mike Wickiser, Gene Newman, Tom McBrayer, Mary Anne McBrayer, Bernie Conway, Bob Baumel, Karl Ungurean, Bill Grass, Carol McLatchie, Pete Volkmar, Pete Riegel. (Not in picture: David Reik, Barb Grass.)

Puerto Rico Has Its Own Course Certifier

2003-03-13: Although Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States, rather than a state, the USATF Road Running Technical Council has decided to treat it as we treat states. Puerto Rico will be listed in the US course listings just as states are listed. Pedro Zapata has been appointed the first Puerto Rico certifier, as now displayed on our RRTC Certifiers page. Upon his appointment, Pedro stated: "For me personally and for the Local Federation, it is a pleasure for being accepted as certifier; this will improve the grade of professionalism of locally held events." Pedro will serve his apprenticeship as certifier under Pete Riegel who is the certifier for Ohio and former RRTC Chairman. Certification codes of Puerto Rico courses will continue to include the prefix PUR as they did previously while part of our "foreign" course listing.

USATF Measurement Seminar Held in Scottsdale, AZ, Oct 5, 2002

2002-10-14: RRTC conducted a measurement seminar in Scottsdale, Arizona on October 5, 2002. The seminar was organized by RRTC Chairman Mike Wickiser, with onsite planning and organization handled by Phoenix area measurer Tom LaBlonde. Western Vice-Chairman Tom McBrayer, Arizona Certifier Gene Newman and Ohio Certifier Pete Riegel also came to help. Read a complete report of this seminar (Adobe PDF format, 360 kB).

Jones Counter Price to Increase by $5.00 on April 1st

2002-02-11: Paul Oerth, producer and distributor of the Jones-Oerth Counter, has announced that the prices of all models will increase by $5.00 effective April 1, 2002. Thus, the US prices will increase to $70 for the 5-digit model and $80 for the 6-digit model. Foreign prices will increase to $75 and $85. See our Measuring Tools page for full ordering information.

2001 Convention - RRTC Meeting Highlights

2001-11-30: Topics discussed at the RRTC meetings during the 2001 USATF Annual Convention in Mobile, AL included the following:

  • Multiple Course Certificates: David Reik, who did not attend this Convention, had suggested in MNForum that it be acceptable to write a single Certificate covering several courses with different certification numbers. Nobody at the meeting liked this idea, although some considered it acceptable to write a single certificate for a group of related courses that all share the same certification number (If this is done, the certificate must still clearly display the Drop and Separation for each course). It was asked what would happen if one of the courses on a multiple-course certificate gets altered by construction. A suggested answer was that this invalidates the whole certificate. Without doubt, the safest option is to give every course its own Certificate and its own certification number.
  • Exempt Tracks from Expiration Policy? Bob Harrison, suggesting that tracks have less chance of losing their measurement integrity than roads do, proposed that our decision last year to phase out certification renewals should not apply to tracks. In discussion, it was noted that tracks do get resurfaced (which would invalidate any certification of an uncurbed track, which is based on the position of a painted line). Also, curb positions can change on tracks with removable rails. Therefore, the consensus seemed to be that tracks should be subject to the same expiration policy as other RRTC certifications. Remember: RRTC certification of a track applies only when no surveyor's certificate is available and applies only to LDR track events (races longer than 10,000 meters).
  • Net Times for Age-Group Records? Based on the observation that transponder ('chip') timing systems can now provide accurate net times, David Katz proposed a rule change to make net times acceptable for age group records. (Net times would not, however, be acceptable for open records or for determining the order of finish.) The proposal is motivated largely by safety--to avoid requiring age group runners to line up with faster runners in the front row in order to set records. This rule change would require a matching rule change in placement of transponder mats: The mats at the Start must be placed in front of the starting line. (Meanwhile, Rule 135.4, as approved in 2000, already requires that mats at the Finish be placed behind the finish line.) David's proposals cannot be introduced formally until the 2002 Convention.

Single-Download Measurement Manual; Preliminary Online Finish Line Manual

2001-11-27: The RRTC Course Measurement and Certification Procedures Manual is now available in a Single-Download Adobe Acrobat version, a feature which has often been requested since we first posted this manual online in 1999. Meanwhile, Jim Gerweck has posted a Preliminary Online version of our Finish Line Manual containing most of the contents of the original, with several new sections, particularly a new chapter on computer race scoring. This online Finish Line manual is still very much a work in progress. Currently, it resides in Jim's AOL filespace, but will probably be moved to this rrtc.net site once it has "stabilized" to some extent.

Course Renewal Procedure Clarification

2001-07-25: As decided at the 2000 USATF Convention, course renewals are being phased out, although courses certified prior to 2001 are still renewable. Questions have arisen regarding policies for renewal of pre-2001 courses. To eliminate confusion, RRTC Chairman Mike Wickiser has issued a statement and mailed it to all Regional Certifiers, explaining the procedures that Certifiers must follow in renewing courses which are still eligible for renewal:

Course Renewals to be Phased Out

2000-12-01: RRTC decided at the 2000 USATF Convention in Albuquerque, NM to stop allowing renewal of certified courses when they "expire" at the end of 10 years. Instead, 10-year expiration will be regarded as a strict termination of the certification, as it is felt that enough uncertainty creeps into every course to warrant remeasurement after this period of time. In practice, the new policy will not take effect for 10 years, as we will continue to honor the language on current certificates which states "This certification automatically expires ten years after date of issue, although it may be renewed for additional ten-year periods..." However, starting in 2001, newly certified courses will be issued certificates that feature a clearly visible expiration date and do not mention the possibility of renewal. When these certifications expire, they will not be renewable.

This site now accessible as www.rrtc.net

2000-04-07: RRTC now has a short, easily-remembered address for reaching our web pages: www.rrtc.net. The idea of obtaining a short web address was raised by Mary Anne McBrayer while working on the enhanced measurement video which had been announced at the 1999 Convention. After deciding it would be feasible, the idea was posted on MNForum to help choose the actual domain name: "rrtc.org" would be the obvious choice but, unfortunately, was taken already (and "rrtc.com" was also taken). While a longer name such as "usatfrrtc.org" would have been possible, we selected the shortest available name -- "rrtc.net". [Notes added later: For the first 7 months after acquiring this domain name, www.rrtc.net redirected to Bob Baumel’s personal ISP space, where the RRTC pages still resided. On 2000-11-26, the RRTC site was moved to a server that fully supported our domain name, so www.rrtc.net no longer redirected to a different URL. Then, in 2005, as RRTC content was ported to the central USATF site, www.rrtc.net was changed again and is now basically a list of links pointing to locations on this USATF site where Course Certification and RRTC information have been ported.]

Paul Hronjak is Vice-Chair East; Karen Wickiser is Course Registrar

2000-02-09: Mike Wickiser's first official act as new RRTC Chairman was to appoint the new Vice-Chair East and new Course Registrar:

Paul Hronjak is the new VC East. According to Mike: "Paul has been active in TAC, USATF, and the RRTC for over 20 years. He is president of NC USATF, NC Certifier since '96, and a masters level official. Paul has been measuring since 1980 with well over 70 courses to his credit. The '96 & 2000 Men's Marathon Trials are among his validations credits among others. The list of his work in the sport goes on and these are but the highlights. I am certain that Paul will do a great job as Vice Chairman East."

Karen Wickiser is the new Course Registrar. Mike wrote: "The certified course list is an item that both Pete and I feel is necessary to have available to the Chairman. For this reason, Karen Wickiser will become the new Course Registrar, replacing Joan Riegel. Karen is of course my wife of 27 plus wonderful years. She is also a runner and puts in a lot more miles than I ever do. No stranger to course measurement, over the years Karen has attended measurement seminars and measured several courses. She understands measuring and looks forward to working as Registrar."

Meanwhile, Pete Riegel, although retiring as RRTC Chairman, will continue an active role on the Council. Pete continues as Editor of Measurement News, Statistician, and Advisor.

Effectively immediately, all Eastern State Certifiers should begin forwarding certificates to: Paul Hronjak, 4413 Pinehurst Drive, Wilson, NC 27896. Paul is also available at (252) 237-8218.
Checks for certificate filing fees should be made out to Karen Wickiser.

It's Official -- Mike Wickiser is now RRTC Chairman!

2000-02-08: Pete Riegel announced today that he had a conversation with USATF President Pat Rico, and Mike Wickiser is now the Chairman of the Road Running Technical Council, USATF, effective immediately. Pete and Mike still have some details to work out, but as of now, Mike is in charge.

Pete Riegel resigns as Chairman; Mike Wickiser to be new Chairman

2000-02-02: Less than two months after announcing that 2000 would be his last year as RRTC Chairman, Pete Riegel has submitted his resignation and designated Mike Wickiser as his intended replacement. Following is a statement issued by Pete:

Dear Friends,
 
On January 31, I sent a letter to USATF President Pat Rico resigning the office of Chairman, RRTC, and recommending that she appoint Mike Wickiser as Chairman.
 
I have known Mike for 15 years, and have watched him grow in his capabilities as he performed jobs of increasing responsibility within our Council. Following is a brief list of the things he has done:
 
  • Measured 88 courses since 1986, including 1996 Olympic Marathon.
  • As Indiana Certifier, he has certified 223 courses since 1988.
  • Appointed IAAF "A" level measurer since 1990 ("A" is the highest IAAF measurer grade).
  • Participated in group measurements of the USATF Men's Olympic Marathon Trials 1988 & 1992.
  • Organized the measurement of USATF Men's Olympic Marathon Trials 2000 course.
  • Served as RRTC Validations Chair 1991-1996.
  • Served as RRTC Eastern Vice-Chair since 1997.
 
Most importantly, Mike is a capable and decent person. I like him. I don't know anybody who can't get along with him.
 
I talked about resigning with Pat at the USATF Annual Meeting, and she said that she generally followed the recommendation of the outgoing person when it came to replacement, 99 percent. So I expect she will appoint Mike. I asked that it be done immediately, but the mills take a while to grind, so it is not yet official.
 
Along with the chairmanship I will be reassigning the office of Course Registrar to Mike or his wife Karen. I have found it to be an immense help to have the course certificates instantly at my fingertips, and I can't imagine doing the job properly without them.
 
I will continue to publish Measurement News, and will retain my office of AIMS/IAAF International Measurement Administrator, Americas.
 
I intend to be around for a while, and not entering a monastery any time soon. I hope everybody knows what a pleasure it has been for me to serve with you, and what a satisfaction it has been to see us become the group we are. We do well, and I'm proud to be among us.
 
Mike and I are beginning to work out the details of an orderly transition. This note is one of the first steps.
 
I hope everybody will give Mike the same help that you have given me. I intend to fully support him in the work. The job can't be done unless we pull together.
 
Pete Riegel

Passing the Baton - New RRTC Chairman Sought

1999-12-03: Pete Riegel announced during the RRTC meeting at the USATF Convention in Los Angeles that, after serving as RRTC Chairman since April, 1986, he wants 2000 to be his last year as chairman. Consequently, he is looking for a successor whose appointment he can recommend to USATF President Pat Rico, and he would like the new Chairman to take office at next year's Convention. Anyone interested in becoming the new RRTC Chairman should contact Pete by private email. The main requirements for this position are: (1) Enthusiasm and Desire to do the job; (2) Ability to do the job.

David Katz is new Finish Line Chair - Will Prepare Pamphlet on Race Requirements

1999-12-03: After remaining vacant for a year since Ryan Lamppa resigned, the position of RRTC Finish Line Chair has been filled by David Katz, who operates the Finish Line Road Race Technicians service in Port Washington, New York. David volunteered during the RRTC meeting at the USATF Convention, as we were discussing whether to launch a major effort to overhaul the RRTC Finish Line Book, similar to our project this past year which produced our Online Course Measurement Manual. David asserted that our Finish Line book is rather antiquated (e.g., it contains nothing on Chip Timing), and probably not worth revising. On the other hand, it will be worthwhile to write a short pamphlet describing the requirements for any road race that obtains a USATF sanction. David will prepare this pamphlet with help from Jim Gerweck.

Enhancements Planned for Course Measurement Video and Online Measurement Manual

1999-12-03: RRTC Western Vice-Chair Tom McBrayer announced during the USATF Convention in Los Angeles that he will remake our Course Measurement Video. Our current version was prepared by Tom around 7 or 8 years ago. Tom intends to modernize this video and produce it more professionally. RRTC has budgeted $1500 for production of the new video. In addition, Bob Baumel, webmaster of this site, announced several planned enhancements for the Online Measurement Manual. We will produce a "single-download" PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format) version of the book, for those who prefer a version optimized for printing instead of on-screen viewing. Other possible enhancements include PDF application forms that can be filled out on the computer, and a new chapter devoted to certification of tracks for LDR events. To enable some of these enhancements, Bob has purchased the current Adobe Acrobat software at a cost of $220.

Measurement Procedures Manual now Online

1999-06-14: The RRTC Course Measurement Procedures manual is now available online on this website. The decision to post this book online was made at RRTC meetings during the December 1998 USATF Convention in Orlando. It's taken six months, but the job is now done. Editing of this new online version was done by Bob Baumel, with help from Jim Gerweck, Bill Grass, Bob Langenbach, and Pete Riegel. This is a major revision of the book, including changes to many sections. It is hoped that this online manual will help many more people learn proper technique for measuring road courses.

Jones/Oerth Counter Prices Increase on June 1

1999-04-25: The cost of a Jones/Oerth Counter, the digital counter that we attach to the front wheel of a bicycle and use in all road course measurements, will go up by $5.00 on 1999 June 01. See full ordering details on our Measuring Tools page.

Measurement Seminars Announced

1999-04-03: Two course measurement seminars were held in April and May of 1999. The first, taught by Washington state certifier Mike Renner, was a three-hour introduction to course measurement, held on April 30 at the RRCA convention in Spokane, WA. Bill Grass (WI Certifier) and Alan Jones (inventor of the Jones Counter) were also in attendance. The second, taught by RRTC Chairman Pete Riegel, was a two-day seminar from April 30 to May 1 in Vancouver, Canada, sponsored by AIMS/IAAF in conjunction with the Vancouver International Marathon.

New Canadian Course Measurement Site

1999-03-29: A new website called the Canadian Road Running Course Measurers Association homepage has been created by Laurent Lacroix of Manitoba. Laurent originally established CRRCMA as a "hypothetical" organization, but since this site's original posting, it helped to spawn a true Canadian certification program, backed by the Run Canada Committee of Athletics Canada, with Bernie Conway of Ontario as head certifier.

RRTC Course Measurement Book to go Online

1998-12-04: As decided at the RRTC meetings during the 1998 USATF Annual Convention in Orlando FL, RRTC's Road Race Course Measurement Procedures manual will soon go on the Internet. This idea was suggested by Wisconsin certifier Bill Grass in order to counteract the dwindling supply of hard-copy manuals available at the national office. Bob Baumel will head the project of converting our book to web format, with help from Jim Gerweck, Bill Grass, and Bob Langenbach. If all goes well, the online version will be available early in 1999. Look for it to appear on this website!

Regional Certification Maps Posted on Web

1998-12-04: In at least one region of the United States, a systematic effort is being made to post certification maps on the Internet, according to Lance Phegley, Editor of Runner Triathlete News, a regional running publication that serves Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Phegley appeared at the RRTC meeting during the USATF Convention in Orlando and explained that he and RRTC Vice-Chairman West Tom McBrayer are trying to post all of the maps for this five-state region. Phegley said he is doing this to provide information to runners, especially for races that don't have their own websites, and also to promote RRTC course certification. Phegley also said he is not a computer guru, implying that other people can easily do the same thing for other regions. Phegley's and McBrayer's current online map collection can be viewed at the Runner Triathlete News website.

RRTC Finish Line Chairman Resigns

1998-12-04: Ryan Lamppa has resigned from the post of RRTC Finish Line Chair, stating that he didn't wish to hold an office in which he wasn't doing anything. RRTC Chairman Pete Riegel notes that everybody who has held the Finish Line position has found it difficult to figure out what they were supposed to do. Nevertheless, participants at the RRTC meetings during the USATF Convention in Orlando pointed out that accurate finish line timing, along with accurate course measurement, are the primary technical requirements for a good race and that an active Finish Line Chair could provide many valuable services including: updating our existing Road Race and Finish Line Management book, furnishing guidelines for choosing timing companies as well as information for small races that can't afford to hire a timing company. We are currently seeking a suitable replacement for Lamppa.

Course Maps, Validations, Chip Timing Discussed at Convention

1997-12-05: Topics discussed at the RRTC meeting during the 1997 USATF Annual Convention in Dallas included the following:

  • Requirements for Course Maps: As requested by Western Vice-Chairman Tom McBrayer, RRTC adopted the policy that certifiers should always write the certification number on the course map, to help identify the certification if the map becomes separated from the certificate. We were also reminded of existing policy that all restrictions must be documented on the map, including precise locations relative to permanent landmarks of all required cones/barriers.
  • Post-Validation Adjustments: RRTC Chairman Pete Riegel announced a policy on adjustment of courses after a validation measurement: If the distance is found to be 1.001 of the race distance or greater, the course passes validation and is not adjusted. If the distance is found less than 0.9995 of the race distance, the course fails, and must be recertified before it can be used for future races. Courses found to be between 0.9995 and 1.001 times the race distance pass the validation, but must be lengthened to 1.001 times the race distance in order to be considered prevalidated for future races. If this adjustment is not done, the course still passes the current validation, but will need to be validated again if any future records are set on the course. Note: This policy does not alter our current interpretation of when a course passes validation; the only change is to clearly specify when the course may be considered prevalidated for future races.
  • Chip Timing: Extensive discussion was held about 'Chip' (also known as 'Transponder') timing systems, especially the ChampionChip system, regarding both practical aspects of using such systems and rules of competition. Tom and Mary Anne McBrayer described their experience using a ChampionChip system, as they had formed a company to time races with it. Chip timing allows measuring the elapsed time of each runner from the moment when that runner crosses the starting line. Current rules require official times to be measured from the gun, but some age group competitors would like elapsed times to be official. Most participants in our discussion seemed to prefer traditional running competition based on gun times, but were willing to admit that attitudes may change. All were impressed by the rapid evolution of race timing technology.

IAAF Sponsors Measurement News

1997-08-19: IAAF, in their support of road racing program, has agreed to support the cost of printing and mailing Measurement News to all IAAF "A" and "B" level measurers. We hope to see letters, articles, and general communication result from this, as measurement becomes more and more international.

MNForum Email List Started

1997-06-22: RRTC announces the launch of the USATF/RRTC Measurement News Online Forum (hereafter known as MNForum). This is intended as an electronic supplement to Measurement News, allowing participants a greater and more immediate vehicle for the exchange of ideas, questions, and opinions. MNForum will operate as a simple maillist. Anyone can post messages to the address. These submissions will then be collected and minimally edited, then be electronically distributed to everyone on the list.

No More Cross-Country Course Certifications

1996-12-04: RRTC will no longer issue certifications for cross-country courses, as decided at the Wednesday RRTC meeting during the 1996 USATF Convention in San Francisco. In the past, cross-country courses were occasionally 'certified' but standards were necessarily vague, knowing that cross-country courses cannot be measured as accurately as road courses, and are generally impossible to document meaningfully because landmarks (such as trees) are amorphous in shape and highly changeable. At this Convention, we settled the issue: We are not in the business of certifying cross-country courses. The 'cross country' checkbox will be removed from our certificates. New certificate blanks without that checkbox are being prepared.

RRTC to Play Role in 'Transponder' Technology

1996-12-04: A new rule passed at the 1996 USATF Convention allows use of the 'Transponders' or 'Chips' that have been used experimentally at a number of big races recently. In these systems, runners wear a uniquely coded 'chip' on their bodies (often on a shoe), and sensors placed at selected points along the course simultaneously record runners' times and identities as they pass by. The new rule, authored by Road Running Information Center director Basil Honikman, makes it legal to use such systems if certain conditions are met. The rule also designates a formal role for RRTC, stipulating that the systems must be "approved by the finish line subcommittee of the Road Running Technical Council." Ryan Lamppa is currently the RRTC Finish Line Chair. He will recruit additional members for his subcommittee, most likely from companies that are developing the chips, so we can keep abreast of this rapidly evolving technology.

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