Course Measurement

Measurer Grading

World Athletics (WA) and AIMS recognises three grades of course measurers as competent to measure specific types of courses. While in Canada anyone can measure a race, race organizers are encouraged to seek the services of a graded measurer to ensure quality and accuracy of measurement, some Run Canada events and all events included on the WA/AIMS Joint Calendar require measurements to be completed by graded measurers.

  • Grade C – Local Courses
  • Grade B – Local Courses, National & Area Championships, World Athletics Sanctioned Competitions
  • Grade A – Local Courses, National & Area Championships, World Championships, Olympic Games, World Athletics Sanctioned Competitions.

Grading of Measurers

Grading of measurers is at the discretion of the International Measurement Administrator, who will make recommendations for the approval of the annual joint meeting of AIMS and WA. The basic guidelines for grading measurers are as follows:

"C" Measurers
C measurers are C graded on successful completion of a bona fide WA/AIMS course measurement seminar which was managed by an A grade measurer, plus the completion of several independent measurements with full documentation.

Grading as a "C" measurer is a recognition that the person concerned has skills appropriate for measuring road race courses in Canada, for races on the national or provincial calendar. This requires two things:

  1. the basic technical knowledge of how to measure a course.
  2. the ability of the measurer to produce a measurement report that can be easily and unambiguously understood by an informed reader.

Grading as a "C" measurer is confirmed after the candidate has performed several measurements and sent documentation of these to the responsible International Measurement Administrator, who will use them as the basis for assessment of criteria (ii) above. At least two measurement reports must be forwarded to the Administrator within 12 months of the seminar for a candidate to be considered for grading as a "C" measurer.

"B" Measurers
Measurers seeking B grading should send the documentation of their measurements from at least four courses to the appropriate International Measurement Administrator, who may then organise a further measurement under the observation of an A grade measurer. If the International Measurement Administrator is satisfied with the candidate's suitability, the Administrator will recommend that the candidate be upgraded to a B grading, at the annual joint meeting of AIMS and WA, subject to later ratification by the WA Council.

Grading as a "B" measurer recognises that the person concerned is able to measure courses and document their measurements to the standard required for races on the international Calendar, excepting only global championships. It is important that the person concerned is able to demonstrate his or her ability to measure on open roads and/or city streets.

There are several differences between what is required of a national measurer and an international measurer.

Linguistic and cultural differences may make it more difficult for the measurer to communicate. In unfamiliar surroundings the measurer will need to take time to assess local conditions and to listen to advice from local personnel. The measurer will also need to take time to explain what is required for the measurement and what they will be doing during measurement (in particular, any police escort must be warned that the concept of "following the shortest possible route" will in practice mean that the measurer may occasionally be riding into oncoming traffic).

Technical differences arise through working under unfamiliar conditions. The measurer will be using an unfamiliar bike, but as long as the counter fits onto the front fork this should not be a problem. The bike may have no gears, which may make riding steeper sections a problem. There may be no existing calibration course convenient to the start and finish of the course to be measured. The measurer should always take a steel tape with them on international measurement assignments so that they can measure out a calibration course of their own, or check any existing calibration course. The measurer should not rely on local personnel to set out a calibration course, but should always either do this personally from scratch or make a careful check of an existing calibration course.

"A" Measurers
An individual is eligible for "A" grading if they are already "B" graded for at least two years within which time he/she has measured eight courses, two of which are in the WA/AIMS joint calendar. One of the two joint calendar courses must have been measured under the supervision of an "A" grade measurer who should send a report to the International Measurement Administrator.

The paperwork for all eight measurements must be sent by the relevant Member Federation to the International Measurement Administrator and, if all proves to be satisfactory, the International Measurement Administrator will upgrade the measurer, subject to later ratification by the WA/AIMS Council.

Grading as an "A" measurer means that it is more likely that the measurer will be called upon to measure championship events, including walks courses. The main differences in such events are that they may start and/or finish in a stadium, they are usually made up of multiple laps, and they are likely to feature "designed" turns, defined by the placement of cones. The design of turns is dealt with in Appendix 2 of the Measurement handbook on page 38.

In championships all walks courses and many marathon courses are designed as multiple laps. The measurer must be careful to take account of competitors joining the lap in a different location to which they depart from it. This means that the final lap is in practice slightly shorter than the others. A counter reading should be taken as soon as the lap is joined, and again at this point after completion of the lap, but before then another reading is required at the point where competitors will depart from the lap.

Measurement on a stadium track is best done by a combination of taking the track surveyor's measurement of the track length on trust and steel-taping. The reason for this is that the accuracy of the calibrated bicycle method depends upon consistency. Calibrating on a road surface and then measuring on a rubberised all-weather track is not consistent procedure and will lead to significant inaccuracy in results.

Tracks are marked out at regular intervals in each lane. It is not difficult to calculate the distance between any two points on a track by simple addition and subtraction. Measure by steel tape to the nearest recorded mark on the track (these marks are often labelled with small steel plates on the inside curb). The only difficulty arises where runners depart from the track to exit the stadium and vice-versa. At these points the shortest possible route from the kerb of the track to the exit tunnel should be steel-taped. Be careful to identify exactly what part of the exit tunnel will be available to the competitors on the day of the race and what may be sectioned off for service or security purposes.

The calibrated bicycle measurement can usually start from the edge of the track, but if construction is still in progress then it may be better to start from outside the stadium and use a steel-tape to measure from the track to this point.

Maintenance of "A and B" Grades and Downgrading

All measurers are required to send a copy of their paperwork for each course on the WA/AIMS joint calendar that is measured to the relevant International Measurement Administrator and the WA General Secretariat in Monte Carlo. They must also send a report to their International Measurement Administrator every two years listing their activity in course measurement. If they have not measured a course within two years, they will be downgraded.