For a Fun Run...
how big of a sin is it if the race isn't exactly 5k? Like 2.9 or 3.0?
It can be what you want ,but being accurately measured is the important part.I still conduct a three mile because it started in 1981 and many think they are running 5K no matter how often I tell them it is 3 miles.
Prior to the 80's I would say it was the norm for races to be in miles not 5 or 10K's and there were often local races of odd distances.
Certainly there are celebrated rates at odd distances, but using one of the standard distances gives runners more or less a standard for comparision. Sure there are hilly 5k courses and flat 5k courses, but the runners will figure that out themselves. Runners still like standardization in most instances. Jeff is correct that being accurately measured, or certified, is key no matter what the distance. Runners want to know that the distance advertised is the distance they ran. Learning to certify a course takes a bit of training, some meticulousness, and a decent comfort level with numbers. Many race directors hire certifiers. The going rate, last time I checked, was on the order of $25-$50 a mile. The certifier will do all the paper work required by USATF. A list of certifiers can be found at www.rrtc.net.
I thought I had heard somewhere that if you get the USATF to certify your race course that provides certain amount of insurance coverage? Is that correct?
Thanks for all of your support!
Certification (neasurement)is different than sanctioning which can include insurance. Two separate processes.
This depends if it is a ' RACE' or just a 'fun run'. As a rule, races have scoring and prizes, it is normal for fun runs to lack scoring and therefor prizes.
If it is a 'Race' then having the distance correct and certified is a major plus to the races credibility. Runners will not come back if the race was not the advertized distance. Some will be wearing GPS units and will know if you are cheating.
Most of our regular races are on certified courses, but our club runs two 'fun runs' each year. We try to make sure they are not confused with our regular races. Some times the fun run is on a non certified, although accurate course. The fun runs have no offical scoring, and prizes, but we do have a clock at the finish and mile marks, but here again, because it is a fun run and not a race we are not posting finish times or offical results.
Most importantly, be honest about the distance. I often run races where I know the distance is not exactly 5k (or 10k or whatever). I have no problem with this. What I do have a problem with is races that advertise themselves as one distance and are actually something different.
There is one race specifically near my home that I will never run again. They advertised the distance as 5k and I asked the race director as I was registering whether it would be an accurate 5k or it would be long as I know most races at the location are long. He ensured me it would not be long. I then ran the race, finished barely able to walk, then the race director told me yeah, it was probably a couple hundred yards long. This is not the way to get return participants.