How a Course is Measured

In a fascinating LetsRun.com article looking at how far exactly did Kipchoge run during his sub2 hour marathon attempt there was a section about course measuring.

This is very important subject for all runners who are looking to PR. The authors discussed if Kipchoge actually ran farther than a marathon and if that cost him the 1:59:59.

Below you'll see how a course is measured:​

Best Racing Tips: Have a plan for the race!

Don't waste all the hard training you did before the event by making these race day mistakes!

Download it now: For any race or runner speed!

The first thing that Katz explained is that a course measurer is supposed to measure the shortest distance between two points on the course, cutting the tangents. So as long as the measurer does this and the runners stay on the course, they’re going to run at least the proper distance. On turns, like on a track with a rail, the measurer measures 30 centimeters from the curb. In theory, if a runner could hug every turn perfectly, they could shave off a little distance, but that doesn’t occur in reality. Katz said even for the 200m race on the track, where there is only one turn and the runners could try to hug it perfectly, he thinks the runners are running at least 200m.

David Katz
Olympic Marathon Course Measurer

So you see, it's measured by the shortest possible route. So if you take wide turns during a race on a certified course, you're running farther than the course is measured! For the average half marathoner, doing even an extra .1 of a mile at a half marathon will add a minute to their time. 

I consider taking the tangents to be the #2 most important piece of racing skill behind proper pacing.

How are certified race courses actually measured?!? 

Click to Tweet

Kyle

Kyle is a running coach who works with people all over the world to help them run more consistently & be resilient to injury.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Reply:

Race Recovery Cheat Sheet

You followed a plan for the race, but then what?

Download my free recovery cheat sheet for:

-my best recovery tips

-​actionable steps to take immediately post race

- a 3 week recovery running schedule

Even if you don't need it now, click download so you have it when you're ready to recover!​

x