Recently I asked the race organiser of a running event I was timing where the exact finish line was so that we could set up our timing mats. The reply I was given was “roughly around about that tree”! This comment made me wonder how accurately the distances are measured for events that people are participating in. Although the number of events continue to grow throughout Ireland it seems that a smaller percentage of them are measured using the Jones Counter course measuring device.
( Note from the Road Running Technical Council of USATF: The “Jones Counter” is the device which is now used universally for recording wheel revolutions when measuring race courses using the calibrated bicycle method. This article first appeared in Summer 1984 in the RRCA publication Footnotes. Alan posted it more recently in MNForum on 1998 June 10. In addition to inventing the Jones Counter, Alan Jones is the author of widely used software for race scoring.)
The measurement of the course is one area that seems to be somewhat vague in Triathlons, Duathlons, Mutlisport and Adventure races. If the event organiser promotes the event to be a certain distance – multisport events with a 12km run or a Sprint distance triathlon (750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run); how important is it to you that a course is measured accurately?