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USATF Course Certification – Policy on Adjustments to Certified Courses

Summary of Policy

If a portion of a certified course is modified without remeasuring the whole course, the course will not be given a new 10-year life. Instead, assuming adjustments are done properly, a new certificate will be issued containing the same expiration date as the original certification. In order to obtain a new 10-year life, the entire course must be remeasured at least once.

Assignment of sequence number when full course has not been remeasured

In this case, a new certificate is written with a new sequence number that still includes the course’s original year of certification, and will therefore still expire on the same date as the original certification. As an example, suppose the original number was CA07001RS and an adjustment is made in 2008. The new certificate would still be given a 2007 number, but with a sequence number obtained by incrementing the last 2007 number assigned by the certifier. Suppose the last number issued for 2007 was CA07068RS; then the number assigned to the adjusted course would be CA07069RS. This would mean that the adjusted course has a life of 9 years. If another adjustment is made in 2010, the new number issued would be CA07070RS. This course then would have a life of 7 years from 2010, as the expiration date would remain Dec 31, 2017.

Adjustment procedure when modifying part of a course

Two measurements must be made for all road portions involved in the modification. Then, distance must be added or subtracted somewhere along the course, in order to keep the intended course length unchanged. For more details on this procedure, see the note below.*

Who does the adjustments

Adjustments should preferably be made by the person who originally measured the course. However, if someone else is going to make the adjustment, they must be approved by the Regional Certifier. There is no limit on the number of times a course may be adjusted, but adjustments made without remeasuring the whole course will not extend the course’s expiration date.

To obtain a certification with new 10-year life

If it is desired to extend the course’s expiration date then, after applying the adjustment procedure indicated above (including addition/subtraction of distance with intention of keeping the course length unchanged), the entire course must be remeasured at least once. Thus, all portions of the course not involved in the current modification must be given at least one new measurement. This will result in a remeasured length for the full course, calculated the same way as for any normal certification measurement (including the SCPF in riding constants). If portions of the course have been remeasured only once, the remeasured length must be within 0.08% of the intended race distance, and if it comes out shorter than the intended length, distance must be added to the course to bring it to the intended length. If agreement isn’t obtained within 0.08%, or if the measurer thinks the course should be shortened, then a second measurement is required, as for a new certification.

* Note: Details on adjustment procedure. When re-routing part of a course, we must distinguish between two very different cases:

  • Case 1: When the race organization wishes to re-route part of the course but the previous path is still available to measure.
  • Case 2: When the course must be re-routed because part of the previous path has been obliterated by construction or other events.

Case 1 is the simpler situation, as the measurer need only make arbitrary marks before and after the portion to be re-routed, then measure between those marks along both old and new paths (two measurements along each path), and then calculate the difference.

Case 2 is trickier because the adjustment requires having suitable previously measured “reference points” before and after the portion that’s being re-routed. By “reference points,” we mean intermediate points along the race course whose positions have been documented with the same care as required for a race course start or finish, and where the distances between successive reference points have been measured twice and are known to the same accuracy as required for a certified course length. Reference points aren’t necessarily split points, and in fact, ordinary split points often don’t satisfy the criteria to serve as reference points. This is where involvement of the original measurer is especially helpful, because only the original measurer will, in general, know if reference points are available. If no suitable reference points are available, the course must be remeasured completely.

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