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"Certified" race courses (Read 499 times)

    I've never really been concerned with exact race distance (everyone else in the race has to go just as far, right?), but noticed on my goal 5K coming up this spring that the website says the certified course is 3.18 miles long. Hey, I'm really tired at the end of a race, and really don't want to run an extra 400 feet or whatever it is extra! Guess I just didn't realize that to be certified, the distance has to be at least 3.1 miles but apparently anything over that can be certified.  I know and understand that courses vary, but it seems that a downtown city 5K sponsored by the local running club can be easily measured a little closer than that. (How 'bout backing the finish line up to that utility pole, or intersection, or fireplug, or... - and getting a little closer to 3.1?) Or am I just being picky here?

     

    I'm still going to run the race, have fun, and contribute to a good cause. Maybe the RD wants to start and end at specific locations for other reasons. One thing I do appreciate is knowing it's (probably) 3.18 in advance. But I probably shouldn't use this long (and hilly) race for a PR try. 

     

    BTW, if a certified course is "short" (but later to be found to be at least 3.1M) do elite times count for WRs, etc?  Of course, I would have to double my "speed" to be concerned about that!

    "I can do 440 in 220"    Half Fanatic #846    "90% of running is half mental"    If I collapse, please pause my Garmin

     


    Fat butt on couch

      0.1% is added to the course as a Short Course Prevention Factor.  This does not necessarily mean the course is 0.1% long...repeated measurement of a course will produce different results, and it is this inherent variability in measurement which led to the development of current certification procedures to focus on making sure a course is not short.

       

      However, I'm skeptical that ANY distance over the minimum for the race is sufficient to USATF certify a course.  However I have not read the manual cover to cover.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       

        That's just goofy.  If they're advertising it as a 3.18 mile race then maybe that's what it is, though I can't imagine why you'd pick that distance.

         

        Normally a certified 5k is advertised as being 5k.

         

        In order for a course to be USATF certified, there is a short course prevention factor that is added when measuring--but it's 0.1%, or 5 meters over a 5k.  There is no good reason to measure a course to be 3.18 miles if you want a 5k.

         

        Maybe it's just a typo.

        Runners run.

          3.18mi = 5118m.

           

          And everything you'd ever want to know about USATF course certification can be found HERE.

          “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman


          Fat butt on couch

              There is no good reason to measure a course to be 3.18 miles if you want a 5k.

             

             

            I've seen some small local races do that when they have a loop course (no out-and-back to make adjustments) and want a common start/finish line.  

             

            To me, that's a red flag that the course will be inaccurate.

            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

             

              I double-checked the 5K race website, and the course map shows 3.1865 miles long. 

               

              However, in fairness after further scrutiny - although the course had been certified in years past, it has moved for the 2012 race only, due to anticipated construction along the original route - makes sense!  So apparently it's not certified this year only, which may explain the longer distance.  And definitely not a PR course.

               

              Thanks for the USATF link!

              "I can do 440 in 220"    Half Fanatic #846    "90% of running is half mental"    If I collapse, please pause my Garmin

               


              Fat butt on couch

                I double-checked the 5K race website, and the course map shows 3.1865 miles long. 

                 

                However, in fairness after further scrutiny - although the course had been certified in years past, it has moved for the 2012 race only, due to anticipated construction along the original route - makes sense!  So apparently it's not certified this year only, which may explain the longer distance.  And definitely not a PR course.

                 

                Thanks for the USATF link!

                 

                Are you saying that they claim it measured 3.1865 during certification, or that when they plotted the course out on one of the online course mapping tools it said that it was 3.1865 long?  If the latter, that would explain the discrepancy.  It is totally believable that an online tool and manual certification measurement would differ by that much.

                "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                 

                  They couldn't measure it to the millimeter?  Slackers.

                  Runners run.

                    I imagine that the actual running of a course is always long anyway, unless you run the exact line the measurer took, and never weave around anyone. So, if you want to be accurate and compare your own 5k races as if they are all the same distance run, it can't really be done. You could always walk out the extra distance from the starting line, mark it, and not boop your watch until you hit that spot, then you'll have a more accurate 5k time for yourself. At least this RD is upfront about the little extra.

                      I double-checked the 5K race website, and the course map shows 3.1865 miles long.

                      If the "course map" is on something like MapMyRun, then the distance stated on that map is not the certified distance.  E.g., my Twin Cities track from 2010 shows that certified course as 26.64 miles.

                      “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman