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Event Manual
Course Measurement
AIMS Congress

Guidance for race directors seeking
AIMS/IAAF measurement of courses

Before seeking a measurement you should have a confirmed route for your course (negotiated with the police and civil authorities as necessary) which you believe to be approximately the correct length. It is best to scale the distance from large-scale maps, if available. Measurement by a car odometer will most likely be short by 5% or more. You should consider what section of each road on the course will be open for use by the runners on race day. If it is not the entire road width then you must clearly state any restrictions. Include the exact route to be taken at turns and the precautions that will be taken to prevent corner-cutting.

Even with your attention to these details the measurer may need to adjust your course to obtain the correct distance. To allow for this you should consider in advance where extra distance may be added (or subtracted): at the start, finish, or any other point along the course.

To arrange for your course measurement (after settling the above points) contact:

AIMS races: Dave Cundy

PO Box 206, Ettalong Beach NSW 2257 Australia
Tel: +61 2 43427611
Fax: +61 2 43427648

For IAAF races: IAAF

17 Rue Princesse Florestine
BP 359 - MC 98007
Monte Carlo
Tel: +377 93 10 88 88
Fax: +377 93 15 95 15

They will refer your enquiry to the International Measurement Administrator responsible for your area. There are four administrators covering: N & S America and the Caribbean; English-speaking Europe and Africa; French- and Spanish-speaking Europe and Africa; and Asia/Oceania

The Administrator will ask a measurer close to your race location to make the measurement, and put him or her directly in touch with you. The measurers are listed as 'A' or 'B'. 'A' measurers are required for Olympic or World Championship measurements but all of those listed will be competent to measure your course.

You should fix a date with the measurer and undertake to provide travel, accommodation and subsistence costs, and a minimum daily allowance for those days spent on the measurement and travelling, as agreed on a case by case basis.

Jones Counter
Jones Counter

Nearly all courses will be measured using a Jones counter mounted on the front wheel of a bicycle. For international measurements it is often impossible for the measurer to bring his own bicycle - and you will have to provide one. It is best to use a standard thin-tired bike (not a mountain bike) with typical wheel size of 28-630 (1.125" x 27") or 25-622 [note: the first figure refers to the width of the tire, the second to the diameter of the wheel]. You may also need to provide other items, such as spray paint and a hammer to use for making road markings, as these may be prohibited on aircraft. Several copies of a detailed course map are also essential along with directions concerning the road width available on race day and a specification of the exact path to be followed at road junctions if this cannot be described as the "shortest possible route" (SPR).

New JR Jones Counter

The measurer will ride the bike along the SPR to obtain the measurement. This will involve taking a direct line from one corner to the next - often cutting diagonally across the road to do this. To allow such a route to be ridden safely you must take precautions. The best precaution is to secure the assistance of a police motorcyclist, who can direct traffic out of the measurer's line. You should also consider the best time of day or night at which the measurement can be made, so that there is less traffic on the road. If no police protection can be provided, then you should arrange for a vehicle to drive with the measurers, "shielding" them from other traffic. A vital precaution is to allow plenty of time for the measurement, so that the ride is not rushed and risks are not taken.

Before the measurement ride is started the bicycle must be 'calibrated'. This entails repeatedly riding the bicycle over a straight, flat section of road around 300-500m in length. The measurer will measure this distance by steel-taping after arrival but you should be able to suggest a suitable location. It should be close to the start/finish (or lay out separate calibration courses near to both if it is a point-to-point course).

The measurer will complete a single ride of the course and based upon his/her calculations will certify that the course is not less than the advertised distance "from start to finish". If you wish to have exact splits (kilometres, miles) or any other points marked which may require a second ride over the course then the costs for this extra ride must be agreed upon beforehand.

After the measurement the measurer will send one copy of his/her report to the International Measurement Administrator and another to you, the race director. The Administrator will check the details of the report and issue an AIMS/IAAF Certificate of Accuracy. The certification remains valid for five years, or until any change is made to the course.

For full information on how to measure a course click <here>.

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